Stones Bronze Age Rock Carvings (PRAWR 284) Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire OS Map Ref SE128468
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 297 (Lower Wharfedale
& Washburn Valley)
This is a fascinating series of carvings
on a horizontal shelf of rock that stands on the edge of Hangingstone Quarry -
it is possible there were more extensive carvings that have now been destroyed
by the removal of stone for building work in the 1860's.
There are 5 sets of patterns spread out over the surface of the rock. On the eastern
area are the 2 most easily identifiable designs, the largest motif consists of
a deep central cup with double joined arcs and extending grooves, one of which
has a peculiar kink in it as it curves away to the west before turning sharply
to the north. Just to the east of the pattern a deep groove runs northwest-southeast.
On either side of it are about half a dozen cups, 3 rings and several unfinished
rings or grooves. To the west is the second motif that seems to have been damaged
by quarrying, again it has an almost central cup, this time with a ring that a
doesn't quite meet and a pair of grooves extending from either side that curve
in and also do not quite meet. Through the middle of these 2 elements is a half
circle groove which also has an uncut centre. Between the 2 main motifs, 5 cups
and a small groove form a triangle.
Of the other 3 motifs, which can be difficult to find, one consists of a complex
series of grooves containing links and cups and could almost be imagined to be
a representation of a map - it measures about 60cm by 40cm. The next set of carvings
form 4 incomplete or eroded rings surrounding cups, the largest, which measures
46cm by 40cm has a pair of deep rings around a keyhole shaped cup. The final design
is rather vague, it appears to be an incomplete ring with one end veering away
at an angle. There is a single cup at the centre and the whole motif is around
32cm by 28cm.
Within the last few years someone has carved a Celtic knotwork pattern into the
rock just a few feet away from these Bronze Age rock marks - is this modern vandalism
or a continuation of an ancient tradition?
The easiest way to get to the Hanging Stones carvings is to head out of the carpark,
walk past the Cow and Calf rocks, take a right turn and follow the track to the
PRAWR = Prehistoric Rock Art of the
West Riding (Boughey and Vickerman 2003)
The 2 sets of eastern carvings
with the town of Ilkley in the top left corner