Follow the same directions as if you’re visiting the impressive Fairy Stone carving, then 3 yards east is the Cottingley 2 double cup-and-ring, keep walking past through trees for another 5-6 yards where you’ll come across this reasonably large curved flat stone. Y’ can’t really miss it
Archaeology & History
This was another carving in the small cluster by the Fairy Stone that I found on my visit here in the 1980s—but it’s a pretty innocuous one to be honest. There’s a faded incomplete “ring” (not really visible on my photos due to pouring rain and very poor light when I was here) with a distinct cup-mark in the middle. Several inches away from the cup-and-ring is a carved line that arcs around it creating an incomplete oval design; and what seems to be a single cup-mark is visible at the top of this oval. Other marks on the stone are both natural as well as recent ‘scratches’.
Some elements of this carving—as with others in this petroglyph cluster—seems to be modern. The cup-and-ring seems to be the real deal, but the ‘oval’ seems to have been added much more recently, perhaps by the scouts who play around in this part of the woods.
Get yerself to the Fairy Stone, then walk east past the adjacent woodland carvings—numbers 2, 3 and 4—from where you should walk about another 10 yards east across the grass, keeping your eyes peeled for a large flat stone measuring about 6ft by 10ft just as you go back into the tree cover north-side. You’ll find it.
Archaeology & History
This large carved rock is the easternmost known petroglyph in this small woodland cluster of five. (a sixth one can be found, but it’s several hundred yards east from here) Consisting of two distinct cup-and-rings in relative proximity to each other on the northern section of the stone, this design—unlike others in this group—has a greater sense of stylistic authenticity to it. Despite this, one of the two cup-and-rings seems to be a more recent addition to the rock, as close inspection shows peck marks that aren’t very well eroded as you’d expect on rock of this type if it was truly ancient. The more faded cup-and-ring on its northwestern section looks to have a greater sense of age about it when we look at its erosion level….perhaps…
We have to take into consideration when looking at this carving and the others nearby that possess some quite peculiar design-elements, that this section of woodland is used extensively by boy scouts who do what boy scouts do in their teenage ventures: from making fires, climbing trees and, perhaps, scribing on stones if/when their elders aint looking. It’s an important ingredient that has to be taken into consideration when looking at the more rash motifs hereby—this carving included. The more faded cup-and-ring on this, however, may be the real deal. And hopefully, next time I visit this site, She’ll not be dark and pouring with rain (much though I love such weather), so I’ll be able to get some better photos!
Follow the same directions as if you’re visiting the impressive Fairy Stone carving, then check out the overgrown rock three yards away, to the east. You might have to rummage under the scrubbage to see it, but you’ll find it if you want to!
Archaeology & History
I first found this stone in the 1980s when I’d been shown the Fairy Stone carving which, at the time, was thought to be all alone. But I used the olde adage: “where’s there’s one cup-and-ring, others tend to be“—and found this and several others closed by.
It’s a relatively small, slightly-domed earthfast rock, upon which we find an unusually large cup-and-double-ring design with a carved line running from the large central cup out to the edge of the stone. However, the carved lines that constitute both the inner and outer rings are ‘crude’ in form and style when compared to the vast majority of other British petroglyphs; and for some reason, this aspect of the design has me casting doubts over its prehistoric authenticity. I hope I’m wrong!
Bennett, Paul, ‘Tales of Yorkshire Faeries,’ in Earth 9, 1988.
Bennett, Paul, The Old Stones of Elmet, Capall Bann: Milverton 2001.
From Harden, go up Moor Edge High Side (terraced row) till you reach the top. Follow the path thru’ the woods on the left side of the stream till you bend back on yourself and go uphill till you reach the moor edge. Keep walking for about 500 yards and keep an eye out to your immediate left. The other route is from the Guide Inn pub: cross the road and go up the dirt-track on the moor-edge till you reach a crossing of the tracks where a footpath takes you straight onto the moor (south). Walk on here, heading to the highest point where the path eventually drops down the slope, SE. As you drop down, watch out for the birch tree, cos the circle’s to be found shortly after that, on your right, hidden in the heather!
Archaeology & History
This aint a bad little site hidden away on the small remains of Harden Moor, but is more of a ‘ring cairn’ than an authentic stone circle (a designation given it by previous archaeologists). An early description of it was by Bradford historian Butler Wood (1905), who also mentioned there being the remains of around 20 small burials nearby. When the great Sidney Jackson (1956; 1959) and his team of devoted Bradford amateurs got round to excavating here, he found “four or five Bronze Age urns” associated with the circle. His measurements of the site found it to be 24 feet across, and although the stones are buried into the peat with none of them reaching higher than 3 feet tall, it’s a quietly impressive little monument this one. About 20 upright stones make up the main part of the ring.
I’ve visited the place often over the last year or so since a section of the heather has been burnt away on the southern edges of the circle. This has made visible a very distinct surrounding raised embankment of packing stones about a yard wide and nearly two-feet high, particularly on the southern and eastern sides of the circle, giving the site a notable similarity in appearance and structure to the Roms Law circle (or Grubstones Ring) on Ilkley Moor a few miles to the north.
There is also the possibility that this ring of stones was the site described by local historian William Keighley (1858) in his brief outline of the antiquities of the region, where he wrote:
“On Harden Moor, about two miles south of Keighley, we meet with an interesting plot of ground where was to be seen in the early days of many aged persons yet living, a cairn or ‘skirt of stones,’* which appears to have given name to the place, now designated Cat or Scat-stones. This was no doubt the grave of some noted but long-forgotten warrior.
* The Cairn was called Skirtstones by the country people in allusion to the custom of carrying a stone in the skirt to add to the Cairn.”
However, a site called the ‘Cat stones’ is to be found on the nearby hill about 500 yards southeast – and this mention of a cairn could be the same one which a Mr Peter Craik (1907) of Keighley mentioned in his brief survey of the said Catstones Ring at the turn of the 20th century. We just can’t be sure at the moment. There are still a number of lost sites, inaccuracies and questions relating to the prehistoric archaeology of Harden Moor (as the case of the megalithic Harden Moor Stone Row illustrates).
The general lack of an accurate archaeological survey of this region is best exemplified by the archaeologist J.J. Keighley’s (1981) remark relating specifically to the Harden Moor Circle, when he erroneously told that, “there are now no remains of the stone circle on this site” — oh wot an indicator that he spent too much time with paperwork! For, as we can see, albeit hidden somewhat by an excessive growth of heather, the ring is in quite good condition.
It would be good to have a more up-to-date set of excavations and investigations here. In the event that much of the heather covering this small moorland is burnt back, more accurate evaluations could be forthcoming. But until then…..