Horncliffe Circle
Bronze Age Enclosure ?
Ilkley Moor, West Yorkshire  OS Map Ref SE133435
OS Maps - Landranger 104 (Leeds & Bradford), Explorer 297 (Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley)

An arc of stones forming part of Horncliffe Circle
An arc of stones forming part of Horncliffe Circle.
Also known as Hawksworth Moor Stone Circle, this is probably not a stone circle at all. It may be the the outer kerb of a robbed Bronze Age cairn or ring cairn although it is most likely to be some form of enclosure.

It consists of a rough oval of stones - some of which are set edge to edge, measuring around 11 metres by 9.5 metres in diameter. Many of the stones seem to have been disturbed and their original position is now almost impossible to guess. In the centre of this chaos is a small hollowed out setting edged with stones, if the structure was a cairn then this would probably have been a cremation cist, if the circle is an enclosure then it may have been a cremation hearth. English Heritage suggest however that this central feature is simply the result of antiquarian excavations.

I have seen photographs of the site taken when the undergrowth had been cleared in which the layout of the stones is very clear, however when I visited the site in the late summer the whole area was covered in a thick layer of heather and bracken, making it very difficult to find. The best directions I can give are as follows -
Directions to the circle are similar to the Grubstones - set off southwards from the Cow and Calf car-park until you see a large wooden shed in the distance. Head towards this, but veer off to the rock outcrop about 20-30 metres to the north. From here a decent track leads south past several grouse-shooting outposts to the right with a fence to your left. After about 20 minutes you will see a dip in the track and a stream a short distance ahead of you. To your left will be an old boundary stone by the fence with the name Thos. Pulleyn engraved on it. From this point you should see a patch of bracken about 30 metres beyond the fence - the stones are hidden deep in this bracken. Walking time from the Cow and Calf is about an hour by the most direct tracks.

See also Ilkley Moor & Rombald's Moor Introduction
Wide angle view looking over Horncliffe Circle
Wide angle view looking over Horncliffe Circle.

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