As Fitz notes 'it's a bit posh', there's a sign on the door asking walkers to remove their boots before entering the hotel and I expected to be pitched out of the building by a pair of burly butlers but in fact the staff were courteous and helpful. As for the carving, the whole design has been quite lightly chipped out of the rock and the original pick marks can be seen. This would suggest that the rock has not been exposed to the elements for long which would fit with the reports of it being found within the protecting mound of a barrow or cairn, nobody seems to know which one but it's supposed to have been from somewhere close by. I have to say I'm doubtful about Pebble's other cup marked rocks here (although I wouldn't put money on it), looking at the battlements many of the blocks of stone are heavily weathered particularly those that overlook the sea directly, some of which could almost be described as rotting away.
Me and Ella decided to have a traipse down to the Raven Hall Hotel to check out the carving there.
Ella was a bit anxious about going in , "looks a bit posh dad". The friendly folk on the reception desk informed us that it was £1 per person to have a look around the grounds, but free if we bought a drink from the bar. Two cokes = £2. So drink in hand we checked out the gardens. A quid for this ? complained Ella. Must admit that the gardens weren't up to much, there was loads of mint and butterloggies but not a lot else. We had a mooch around the 'battlements' and admired the views of Robin Hood's Bay or just 'Bay' as it's known locally.
The carved stone has been cemented into the wall of a wee recess in the cliff face, as Pebbles mentions there is a little carved cave with a plinth carved into it.
The carving is lovely and although I'm glad someone has saved it and preserved it, I would have rather seen it in context, but you can't have it all can you.
After leaving the hotel we had a walk down to the cliff edge on the NT land, on the way back we were having a poke around an old stone tip next to the cottages beside the hotel when we spotted what appears to be the top portion of a beehive quern being used as an ornament outside of one of the cottages.
If you visit, avoid the bar meals in the hotel - £5 for a cheese toastie!
Check out the lovely Post Office / Tea Shop at Staintondale. 2 toasties, a coke & a pot of tea all for £5.20 new pence.
There were signs everywhere asking non-residents to obtain a ticket at reception for the grounds, so in I went, and they let me in, which was nice. I asked for directions to the rock art and they pointed me towards the battlements.
After a wander around when all I could find was a few questionable cupmarks and a pair of newlyweds, I returned to reception for more clues. It’s beside the little cave, they said, to the right. And there it was, just above head height. Very hard to miss unless you know what you’re looking for, a bit faded and even looks a bit two-dimensional. And if there are more pieces, I couldn’t find them!
As it is very close to the little cave (see misc notes on history of Raven Hall) perhaps this area of the wall can be dated to between 1829 and 1845.
Also, I saw, way above head height, some more markings in the cliff face that looked a bit like cups marks. I discounted them as they were so high up, but if you think about it, if they blew up some of this cliff who's to say they didn't used to be accessable? Just a thought, and I've posted the pic anyway although it isn't very good quailty being so far away.
Very impressive place – the gardens will be nice in the summer. Worth a trip for the views. Lovely.
Summary of information contained in a leaflet available at the hotel, “The history of Raven Hall”
Raven Hall was built in around 1763, when the remains of a Roman fort were found on the site. It was built by the owner of the local Alum Works for his family holiday home. It remained in the family after his death in 1829, when it became a retreat for George III and “various other loopy royals”. The original owner’s grandson, an eccentric Vicar, created the incredible hanging terraced gardens and battlements by literally blowing them out of the cliff face! Included in this project was a small but useful cave…
Needless to say, in 1845 this owner became financially unstable, and the ownership passed to the bank owner, who took on the role of local benefactor and landlord.