Bronze Age Rock Carvings
Northeast of Ilkley, North Yorkshire OS Map Ref SE17425076
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 297 (Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley)
Askwith Moor is an area of rough heather covered moorland northeast of Ilkley and northwest of Otley. It has several carved rocks but due to the undergrowth and lack of tracks they can be difficult to find. One particular carving is said to resemble a human figure with an arch over its head, which could be interpreted as either a shaman, a hunter with a bow, or some kind of deity. This stone is particularly difficult to locate and was in fact only discovered in the mid 1980's by Graeme Chappell and Paul Bennett - I haven't found it yet.
If you venture onto the moor, it is worth taking the one track that does exist that leads from a gate north of the carpark on Askwith Moor Road, to a triangulation point at Shooting House Hill where there is a spectacular 360 degree view of the whole area between the Rivers Wharf and Washburn.
Update 2009 - I finally found the Man Stone, which was quite difficult even with a GPS and the OS grid reference of SE1672250595 from PRAWR. The carving is on the lower part of the southern end of a boulder that lies within a small area of other rocks. The carving itself is quite striking - is it a human figure wearing a hat or wielding a bow, or is the upper part of the carving a second figure being held aloft or jumping over the lower figure? The interpretation might depend upon a faint possible cup mark at the top of the carving. In the picture to the left I've shown this small mark as does Chappell in his illustration on Bennett's website The Northern Antiquarian. If the mark is indeed deliberate then the second human figure theory might seem more likely. What it might mean or symbolise is of course anybody's guess.
PRAWR = Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding (Boughey and Vickerman 2003)
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