Cock Lakes, Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1524 5469

Getting Here

Faint cups highlighted by water

Follow the same directions as if you’re visiting the James Stone monolith.  From here, walk about 60 yards southeast and zigzag about in the heather until you find a small squarish-shaped earthfast rock, barely 6 inches above ground-level (might be hard to find when the heather’s fully grown).  If you’ve got a petroglyphic nose, you’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

A simple faded cup-marked stone, roughly 2½ feet by 2 feet across, can be found about 65 feet southeast of the James Stone and 40 yards west of the Benty Gate prehistoric enclosure.  Sadly when we visited the place a few days ago, the sky was grey and the conditions for good photos were poor.

Line of faint cups from centre
Extra faint cup near centre left

At least five cup-marks have been etched onto the stone, with the main element being a row a three cups in a straight line from the centre of the stone to its SE edge.  The central cup-mark has been carved where a natural crack in the rock, running from the edge of the stone, terminates.  There also seemed to be a carved faded line running along the bottom edge of the stone—but it was unclear and another visit is needed in better light to see if there’s more on the stone.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Cock Lakes CR

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Cock Lakes CR 53.988036, -1.769067 Cock Lakes CR

Picketts Beck East, Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1708 5054 —  NEW FIND

Getting Here

Cup-and-ring stone in situ
Cup-and-ring stone in situ

From the Askwith Moor Road parking spot, head across the road and take the directions to the Woman Stone carving about 510 yards (467m) across the moors to the west.  From here, look straight down the slope and head towards the largest boulder at the bottom, 20-30 yards away.  About 10-20 yards to the right of this, zigzag about in the vegetation until you find the small stone amidst the bracken.  You’ll find it!

Archaeology & History

This small stone, whose natural contours and cracks have been utilised in the design of the petroglyph, may once have been part of a prehistoric tomb, perhaps rolled or thrown downhill from the nearby Askwith Moor Cairnfield.  I say this due to the size and portability of the stone, i.e., it’s small and barely earthfast, giving an increased likelihood that its present position was not its original one.  But we might never know…

Rough sketch of the design
Rough sketch of the design
Close-up of the carving
Close-up of the carving

It’s almost archetypal in design, being a primary cup-and-ring, with what appears to be a faint inner ring etched marginally within the larger notable incomplete circle, just an inch beyond the inner central cup.  From this same cup runs a carved line, out to the near edge of the small stone.  Single cup-marks occur on the edges of the rock, as can be seen in the photos: three, possibly four of them.  One of the cups, where the stone narrows to a rounded point, may also have had a partial ring around it.  When we found this stone a few weeks ago, the day was grey and overcast and the light was poor, so our photos do not highlight the carving too well.

(Note: the OS grid-reference for this stone is an approximation: pretty damn close, but not close enough. If someone ventures here and can get the exact grid-ref, we’d be most grateful.)

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Pickets Beck CR

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Pickets Beck CR 53.950681, -1.741236 Pickets Beck CR

Wester Cairnfield (02), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1698 5070

Getting Here

Faint cupmarks clearly visible
Faint cupmarks clearly visible

From the Askwith Moor Road parking spot, head west to the Askwith Moor cairnfield. Keep walking west, going downhill past the main cluster of rocks.  If you begin zigzagging amidst the heather hereby, you’ll eventually come across this relatively small stone which, even when the heather is deep, thankfully rises to the surface.  The Wester Cairnfield 1 carving is close by.

Archaeology & History

Although I presumed that Graeme Chappell and I found this petroglyph when we surveyed the area in the 1990s, I cannot find an early account of it in my files, so must presume that when James Elkington, James Turner and I came across it a few weeks ago, it was the first view of the stone in many a century… It’s another simple carving, only of interest to the mad rock art hunters out there.

...and from another angle
…and from another angle

When we first found it, it seemed to me (with the sunlight effects on the stone) that two cup-marks had been etched here; but as Mr Elkington pointed out, from the angle he was looking at the stone, there were another two.  He was right.  But it’s nothing special to look at, sadly, and is probably only of interest to the real hardcore petroglyph nutters amongst you. (please note that the grid-ref for this carving needs revising and may be 50 yards either side of the one given)

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Wester Cairnfield CR-2

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Wester Cairnfield CR-2 53.952122, -1.742751 Wester Cairnfield CR-2

Wester Cairnfield (01), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 16966 50674

Getting Here

Cup-mark near top-right
Cup-mark near top-right

From the Askwith Moor Lane parking site, take the directions to the Askwith Moor Cairnfield.  Walk westwards for about 100 yards down the gradual slope, towards the boggy land below, but before reaching the reeds, still in the moorland heather, there are a scatter of rocks.  Just keep zigzagging about until you find it. It’s a reasonably large stone.

Archaeology & History

'Cup mark' on vertical face
‘Cup mark’ on vertical face

This is one of several simple cup-marked stones found down the slopes about 100 yards west of the Askwith Moor Cairnfield.  When James Elkington, James Turner and I re-surveyed this area again recently, I wondered whether it was a newbie or had already been located when Graeme Chappell and I did our tedious surveying of this region in the 1990s—and it turned out that we did!  The carving is nothing special to look at, even if you’re a petroglyph zealot.  Comprising of a distinct single cup-mark on the top nose of the rock, another is visible on the vertical south face, and another possible is on its eastern face.

1894 map of shooting target
1894 map of shooting target

When we look at the early maps of this area, we find that to the north and south of this stone once existed ‘Shooting Houses’.  As we can see on the attached map, the position of one of the shooting targets is very close to the location of this stone and so we must conclude that the cups on the vertical face were done by gunshot and are not prehistoric. However, the distinct cup on top of the stone retains its prehistoric link.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 

Wester Cairnfield CR-1

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Wester Cairnfield CR-1 53.951889, -1.742966 Wester Cairnfield CR-1

Teddy Stone, Blubberhouse Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 13495 54929

Getting Here

Teddy's very own cup-marked stone!
Teddy’s very own cup-marked stone!

ON the A59 Harrogate to Skipton road, right on top where it crosses the barren moors, get to the parking spot right near where the road levels out at the highest point. Walk up the footpath from here onto the moors (south) for about 200 yards till you notice a small black pool ahead of you. From here, walk left (east) offpath and into the heather, roughly along the ridge for about another 150-200 yards. Zigzag about and keep looking. You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

Close-up of some of the cups
Close-up of some of the cups

Not far from the Gill Head stone and walling, another previously unrecorded cup-marked rock was discovered on the afternoon of Saturday, May 3, 2014, by Danny Tiernan and his famous teddy bear!  The stone seems to have been previously well-covered, but was made visible thanks to the annual heather-burning on this part of the moor. He came across it during an exploratory Northern Antiquarian wander to examine a cluster of other neolithic remains hidden on this moor.  The carving consists of a series of plain cup-markings, between eight and twelve in number, running along the middle of the rock and outwards nearer to the edges. The cups are between 1-2 inches across and a half-inch deep at the most. The design was first highlighted on Danny’s walking blog, Teddy Tour Teas — and is gonna be difficult to find once the heather’s grown back.

Links:

  1. The Teddy Stone

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Teddy Stone CR

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Teddy Stone CR 53.990232, -1.795669 Teddy Stone CR

Snowden Carr Carving (569), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17746 50923

Getting Here

Inma’s Drawing of the Carving

Takes a bitta finding unless you’ve got a GPS system, or someone like me to show you where it is! The best way’s probably via the Askwith Moor Road car park, up the road 160 yards till you hit the straight line cut into the moor on your right, where the landscape’s been damaged.*  Walk along this for less than 100 yards, then walk right, through the heather and onto the singular tree roughly 200 yards away.  From here, walk 75 yards (strides) north from the tree.  You’re damn close!

Archaeology & History

About 20 feet from a line of ancient walling in an area pretty rich in prehistoric sites, is this medium-sized stone with a lovely cup-and-ring design.  The carving was first recorded by fellow antiquarian, Eric Cowling (1937), in his short survey of other carved stones in the area.  He called this ‘carving no.7’ and described it, thus:

“In the central area of Snowden Carr is a barrow group, which occupies a slight ridge running from the edge of the bog to the east, almost to the moor road on the west.  The ridge is almost devoid of vegetation except at the higher end.  Here, on a heather-covered boulder, is marking no.7.  The cups are smaller than usual, and only one ring completely surrounds a cup.  The lines linking the cups are only lightly incised, and the whole marking has a delicate appearance.”

Old photo of the carving
Cowling’s 1937 drawing

I first visited this stone in the 1980s with fellow rock art student and author, Graeme Chappell, and for some reason it has always impressed me (I recall Graeme laughing whilst I made joyous noises and stroked the rock, reverentially!).  Cowling’s description of the stone as ‘delicate’ is appealing, as the stone and its design has a nurturing aspect to it, female in nature. (forgive me — but many of these stones tend to capture me in such ways!)  The stone was described more clinically in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) more recent survey as follows:

“Fairly large, flat, smooth grit rock with crack.  Up to seventeen possible cups, one with complete ring, one with partial ring, one with possible ring; connecting groove.”

Doesn’t quite capture the feel of the place, which I’m sure they’d admit.  The next time I’m up here, I’ll get some better photos of the carving.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.
  2. Cowling, E.T., ‘A Classification of West Yorkshire Cup and Ring Stones,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 1940.
  3. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.
  4. Cowling, E.T. & Hartley, C.A., ‘Cup and Ring Markings to the North of Otley,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 33, 1937.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Huge thanks to one of my fine ladies, Inmaculada Ibanez-Sanchez, for the drawing! Cheers Inma!

* A pipeline was laid across the moor here, and subsequent work (I presume by the same company) was done again in early 2011, cutting through and damaging several prehistoric monuments and destroying at least one prehistoric cairn.  An archaeological survey of the region should have been done before any work proceeded here, but I’m unaware of any such excavations, or archaeological reports preceding or concurrent to the ecological and historical damage performed.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Snowden Carr CR-569

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Snowden Carr CR-569 53.954101, -1.731066 Snowden Carr CR-569

Slade Cairnfield, Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire

Cairnfield:  OS Grid Reference – SE 141 543

Getting Here

One of several recently discovered small cairns

Follow the same directions to reach the recently discovered Slade-02 carving; and simply walk 30 yards southwest.  The scattered ruins of numerous small stone piles, visible only when the heather’s been burnt back, is what you need to be looking for.

Archaeology & History

First discovered on a Northern Antiquarian outing in July 2011, it’s difficult to give an accurate appraisal of this site as much of the landscape all round here is very overgrown in deep heather.   Added to this, there is evidence of more recent medieval and post-medieval industrial activity that’s intruded and/or affected the earlier prehistoric remains that are evident here.  But these factors aside, we can say with certainty that here is a previously unrecognized prehistoric cairnfield — and it may be of some considerable size.

Ruined hut or cairn circle

We have so far located at least seven individual cairns and a cairn circle in relative proximity to each other, thanks to local rangers burning back the heather.  It was the discovery of the cairns which then led to the discovery of the nearby cup-and-ring stones.  Amidst the cairn-spoils there are also distinctive lines of stone, indicative of either walling or embankments of some form or another.  Some of the stone making up this cairnfield appears to have been robbed. We also found that in walking through the deeper heather surrounding this ‘opening’ (where it had been burned away a few months previously), a number of other man-made piles of stone were evident that seemed to indicate more cairns.  There is also evidence of further lines of prehistoric walling, whose precise nature is as yet unknown. But we do know that people have been on this moorland since Mesolithic times (structural and other remains of which are still evident less than a half-mile away).

The site requires greater attention the next time the heather’s been burnt back.

References:

  1. Davies, J., “A Mesolithic Site on Blubberhouses Moor, Wharfedale,” in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, part 161 (volume 41), 1963.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Slade cairnfield

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Slade cairnfield 53.984563, -1.786470 Slade cairnfield

Snowden Carr Carving (603), Askwith Moor, North Yorkshire

Cup-Marked Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 17993 51112

Getting Here

Snowden Carr carving 603

From Askwith village go up the Moor Lane and at the crossroads go straight across (Snowden Moor is across left).  Go down and along Snowden Carr Road until the road levels out and, watch carefully, about 500 yards on from the crossroads on your left you’ll see a small crag of rocks in the fields above.  Stop and go through the gate walking up the field and as you near the top you’ll see a gate across to your left that leads onto the moor.  Go through this and on the path which veers up to the right up to the Tree of Life Stone.  About 20 yards along, keep your eyes peeled just off-path, to the left, where a small rounded stone hides at the edge.

Archaeology & History

This was one of a number of cup-markings that Graeme Chappell and I came across in the early 1990s, though it didn’t receive any literary attention until included in Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) survey.  It’s only a small fella, consisting of just six or seven cups on its upper rounded surface — though what may be a carved line runs round the southern side of the stone.  It seems to have been associated with a small cairn close by (a common feature on these moors) and adjacent prehistoric settlement walling.  In Boughey & Vickerman’s text, they gave the following notes:

“Small rock with rounded surface at ground level, near scattered cairn. Seven or eight cups, possible grooves at edge.”

Drawing of the stone (Boughey & Vickerman)

[You’ll notice in the photo above that the local phantom painter had been here again, artistically highlighting the cup-marks.  The photos we took were done earlier this year, when the paint (or whatever it is) was first noted.  It had not been painted-in the previous autumn.  But most notably is the fact that this carved stone has never previously appeared on the internet (until today) and the only other reference to it is in the standard Boughey & Vickerman text.  This would indicate that whoever it is that’s painting the carvings up and down mid-Wharfedale possesses a copy of that text, aswell as being relatively new to the subject of rock art.]

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, WYAS 2003.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Snowden Carr CR-603

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Snowden Carr CR-603 53.955791, -1.727291 Snowden Carr CR-603

Weston Moor (543), North Yorkshire

Cup-and-Ring Stone:  OS Grid Reference – SE 18521 49406

Getting Here

Weston Moor cup-and-rings (after ‘QDanT’)

Get yourself to the impressive multi-ringed Greystone Allotment carving, then walk to the copse of trees close by and bear left, following the edge of the fence along and following it when it turns down at right-angles, until you hit the bottom corner of the trees, where a path cuts in front of you.  From the bottom corner of the trees walk 25-30 yards diagonally away from the trees.  It’s under your nose somewhere damn close!

Archaeology & History

This is another archetypal cup-and-ring stone, similar in size and design to the recently discovered Slade (02) carving on Blubberhouses Moor, just over 4 miles (6.5 km) northwest (followers of Alexander Thom’s megalithic inch theory might be interested in assessing the measure of these two).   It is one of number clustered in and around this small grass ‘moorland’ region, where a number of carvings perished in the 19th century.  Thankfully this one survived.  Boughey & Vickerman’s (2003) brief notes on the stone tell:

“Small, rough grit rough of regular oblong shape set very low in turf.  Two cups, each with a ring, and connected by a groove.”

On a recent visit to see this carving, Danny Tiernan, Paul Hornby, James Elkington and I were unable to locate it.  The carving may well have been destroyed, or moved.  If anyone is aware of what has happened to this petroglyph, please let us know.  We will be contacting the local authorities to see if any explanation is forthcoming from them.

References:

  1. Boughey, Keith & Vickerman, E.A., Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, West Yorkshire Archaeology Service 2003.

Links:

  1. Weston Moor Rock Art – more notes & images

Weston Moor CR-543

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Weston Moor CR-543 53.940439, -1.719348 Weston Moor CR-543

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Green Plain, Blubberhouses Moor, North Yorkshire

Settlement:  OS Grid Reference – SE 1492 5378

Getting Here

Cowling’s 1946 ground-plan of a portion of the settlement

From Blubberhouses church by the crossroads, walk up the slope (south) as if you’re going to Askwith, for 100 yards or so, taking the track and footpath past the Manor House and onto the moor.  Once you hit the moorland proper, take the footpath that bears left going down into heather and keep going till you hit the dead straight Roman Road path running west onto Blubberhouses Moor.  Go on here for nearly a mile until you hit the valley stream with its Eagle Stone down on your left.  Walk downstream, past the Eagle Stone, and cross over 100 yards down until you’re back on the level ground with the scatter of bracken and heather.  You’re here!

Archaeology & History

On the other side of the stream a short distance southeast of the large cup-marked Eagle Stone is a curious site, first described by Eric Cowling (1946) as “a series of enclosures of varying size and roughly circular shape” which he ascribed as a Bronze Age settlement.  Certainly we have a rather extensive scattered group of walled structures just as he described, but not all of the walling here seems typical of local Bronze Age constructions.  Cowling suggested the remains to be “useful for protection, herding and for shelter,” though admitted archaeological excavation would be the best way to ascertain their specific nature.  Such undertakings have yet to be done — and I wouldn’t hold your breath either.

Large section of walling
Walls of large circular structure

Although he described some of the walls here as nearly four-feet tall, when Graeme Chappell and I first ventured here in the winter of 1990, the walling wasn’t quite as high.  There are a number of individual tall stones sat in the walls that stand three-feet tall, with some that have been cut and dressed in more historic times.  Who did this and when is unknown.  However, if we visited this place when all the vegetation has been cut and burnt back at the end of winter and early months of Spring — a fact not lost on Cowling when he first found this place — we would gain a much clearer picture of things here.

Some sections of lower walling above the streamside appear to be prehistoric in nature, but many other parts of the walled structures across this flatland plain have a much later look and feel about them, illustrating that the site may have been used well into post-medieval periods.  This seems increasingly obvious where we find a number of the stones cut at sharp angles, with some having distinctive quarried grooves in them.  However, I can find no historical records to verify this at present.

Hut circle remains
Medieval cut upright stone?

If we walk up the slight slope westwards however (before bracken and heath grow) there are more distinct prehistoric remains in the form of typical hut circles with low walls emerging from deep peatlands — although even these have been cut in one or two places by metal tools.  My view of this little-known but large settlement arena is that we’re looking at a site initially built in the Bronze Age period, continuing to be used by local tribespeople throughout the Iron Age and, as the cut stones clearly show, was a village that was certainly made use of in the last millenium.  But until someone comes along here and gives the site the attention it deserves, we’re not gonna know…

On the southern fringe of the copious walled structures we also find a very curious medicinal chalybeate spring that may have been of some importance to those who once lived hereby.  A ‘standing stone’ and prehistoric cairn can also be seen close by.

References:

  1. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way: A Prehistory of Mid-Wharfedale, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

Green Plain settlement

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Green Plain settlement 53.979867, -1.773991 Green Plain settlement