Bronze Age Standing Stone
North East of Bamford, Derbyshire OS Map Ref SK22018469
OS Maps - Landranger 110 (Sheffield & Huddersfield), Explorer OL1 (The Peak District - Dark Peak Area)
Looking north over the Old Woman Stone towards the Crow Chin and High Neb area of Stanage Edge. The base of the stone can be seen to the right.
The Old Woman stone on Bamford Moor is a sad sight to see. What at first looks like a fallen Bronze Age standing stone was actually deliberately felled by the land owners in the early part of the 20th century to try and discourage walkers who used it as a way marker from using the privately owned moor. Happily much of Bamford Moor is now covered by the Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) act meaning walkers can now wander over the moorland although access is still restricted during part of the Spring and Summer to protect ground nesting birds.
The CRoW act came about 100 years too late for this stone but at least we can be grateful that it wasn't broken up or further damaged as what remains is a fine slab of gritstone that would have stood nearly two and a half metres tall, the fallen section measures just over two metres in length while the base from which it was broken stands just next to it and is now partly covered in vegetation. The stone is quite broad at a metre wide and has a depth of about half a metre and would certainly have been an impressive sight when standing, this is especially so at the face has deep erosion channels or 'fluting', the result of several thousand years of water running down the vertical face of the stone (see the Matfen Stone in Northumberland for comparison).
The Old Woman stone forms part of a larger collection of prehistoric sites on Bamford Moor with groups of cairns to the south, east and west as well as the stone circle which stands less than 200 metres to the south east and it may be the case that it formed an outlier to this circle. I'm not usually a fan of re-erecting fallen stones that have lain for a long time but as this one was deliberately felled within historic times it would be a shame if it couldn't be restored to its former glory.
The base is to the bottom left. The face of the felled section bears some heavy fluting on what would have been its vertical face - evidence that it had stood upright for a very long time.
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