Dove Stones, Widdop Moor, West Yorkshire

Legendary Rocks:  OS Grid Reference – SD 9333 3479

Also Known as:

  1. Dew Stones

Getting Here

Dove Stones (after ‘QDanT’)

Get to Widdop reservoir in the hills west of Hebden Bridge and park up. The great rock faces to your right (north) is where you’re going. Clamber to the top until the moor levels out, making sure you head NNW for less than a mile. The moors you’re now on are supposed to be private – but folk like me pay no attention!  There are no footpaths to this great outcrop, only the heathlands and scattered stones – but keep walking for a half-mile north and you’ll get to them!

Archaeology & History

Erroneously ascribed by the place-name masters Eilert Ekwall and A.H. Smith (1961) as being ‘a place where doves gathered,’ this gigantic rock outcrop on the Yorkshire-Lancashire border — as shown on early maps — is actually the Dew or Black Stones (from the Gaelic, dubh).  It’s an awesome place!  Takes a bitta getting to, but it’s well worth the venture.

Dove Stones on 1848 map
Dove Stones on 1848 map

This long geological ridge, rising higher as you walk along it to the north, has the occasional cup-mark on it, with the giant Dove Stone at the very end having a cup-and-half-ring on its crown (be careful not to fall off). From here, you look across a huge, desolate, U-shaped valley, the far side of which we rise to 1700 feet and the grand setting of the Lad Law.


The folklorists Harland and Wilkinson (1882) included this in their survey of druidical sites, mentioning the several cup-markings, or druid basins as they called them. (though most of ’em on here are Nature’s handiwork)

For me, this is an incredible place – full of raw power and magick. It has a curious geomantic relationship with the Whinberry Stones, a couple of miles to the south, around which should be a ring of stones…though none can be found.


  1. Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Chieveley 2001.
  2. Harland, John & Wilkinson, T.T., Lancashire Folk-lore, John Heywood: Manchester 1882.
  3. Smith, A.H., Place-Names of the West Riding of Yorkshire – volume 3, CUP 1961.


  1. More images of the Dove Stones

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian