Cottingley Wood
Bronze Age Carved Rock
Northwest of Cottingley, West Yorkshire  OS Map Ref SE098379
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 288 (Bradford & Huddersfield)

Cottingley Wood carved rock
The carved rock in Cottingley Wood.
Cottingley is perhaps best known as the home of the 'Cottingley Fairies' captured in a series of five black and white photographs early in the 20th century. The pictures were of course a hoax dreamed up by two young girls but in the trees above Park Rocks towards the northwest of Cottingley Wood is a carved rock that could truly be described as magical.

On the sloping surface of a large slab is one of the most beautiful and best preserved carvings in the region which combines simple cups, rings and grooves to produce what local expert Paul Bennett has fittingly nicknamed the 'Fairy Stone'.

The elements used in the carving may be simple but the use of grooves to create different zones on the rock face has created an aesthetically pleasing and balanced design particularly in the almost circular section (to the left above and in detail below) which encloses a dozen cups, two of which are surrounded by rings (a further cup and ring is located just below the main circle). From here further grooves join a natural fault in the rock which provides the side of a flattened oval containing ten cups, one with a ring. Attached to this oval almost as an afterthought is small extension groove containing a single cup and as can be seen on the lower right of the photograph above there is a further separate motif comprising of a cup and wide-spaced ring towards the lower surface of the rock. The use of circular or oval grooves to enclose cups can be seen at other sites such as Gardom's Edge in Derbyshire, also carved on a large slab, which could be said to bear a passing resemblance to Cottingley Wood.

A short distance from the main panel is a further carving, this time on a smaller slightly domed rock where a wide shallow cup or small basin is surrounded by a pair of close rings (photograph at the bottom of this page).

Suggested Date: Bronze Age
Cottingley Wood carved rock
Closer view of the carvings
Cottingley Wood carved rock detail
Detail of the circular carving. Note the central cup with ring and the cup and ring with a small gutter that passes through the outer main groove at the bottom of the picture.
Cottingley Wood cup and ring marked rock
A wide shallow cup and pair of rings on a stone close to the main panel.

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