This place lives up to the hype. Not a big panel, and a pretty cramped rock shelter, but such carvings! So well placed and superbly executed, a masterpiece of prehistory.
The motifs at Chatton are snazzy enough, but if you go to Chatton, make time for the 'Neolithic Lino' in the rockshelter. It's right down at the bottom of the slope, so maybe nip down from the top, avoiding the outcrops, then walk along, especially if it's wet, as the soil is v. loose and rather dodgy underfoot (besides, one should attempt to minimise erosion).
It's a great place to see how carvings erode over the years, the motifs at the back are worndown where they've been exposed longer, whereas those at the front, which were turfed over until quite recently, still have their peckmarks plain to see.
My mind is not convinced by the alleged standing stone just up from the rockshelter. I think it's equally likely it's an erratic that's simply fallen upright as it fell down the slope. There are many others which are at various angles.
The first time I saw pictures of the Ketley Crags shelter I knew I had to see it... the pictures had been burning in my mind.....it really is just one of those places you gotta see.....it wont disappoint.
I spent what seemed like an age looking through the bracken and rocks for the rock shelter......it musta been the last rock I went to.
It's a real jaw-dropper.......it'd be hard to top this place in my opinion.
There's also plenty to see on your way over Chatton.
Walked down from Chatton Hill, and after the inevitable scrabble to find it (It’s about 2/3rds the way down the slope towards the east) this was a breathtaking find. I think this may be my favourite (until the next one!). It’s the most gorgeous fleshy design and with the overhang to protect it, hopefully won’t get too much weathering. It’s as if every inch of the slab has been carved.
I thought I’d sit until the light was right across the whole panel but after a little while, as it faces roughly north, decided I’d be waiting a long time! I suppose it might happen in the summer. Take care as you try to get that perfect shot – one step back too many and you’ll be down the cliff.
Also beware of fupping great holes – I thought they were the largest rabbit holes I’d ever seen but apparently it’s badgers! Check out the picture showing human and badger paw prints… who’s was the zigzag sole there before me? Step forward RockArtUK :-)
I've seen a few cross sockets in Northumberland, and I can see why some people have suggested this could be one, as it's probably been on one of the St Cuthbert pilgramage routes. The one time spring may infer some kind of fonty-ness, and whilst it does have metal chisel marks on part of the groove, it just doesn't fit the bill as either a font or a cross socket. Not the ones I've seen in these parts.
But it doesn't look like any of the prehistoric RA nearby either, but the area is dripping with such. So I'm going to hedge my bets and say that it's a prehistoric jobby that's been co-opted for early christian religious malarky.
Notes in the night
It serves as a very effective marker to let you know you're on track to get to Ketley Crag after dark. It looms out at you, and the hollow in the side of Chatton Park Hill becomes a yawning gulf of shadow.
A short distance north-east of the probable site of St. Edmund's chapel and on the north side of Chatton Park Hill, or Chatton Law, as it is more commonly called, is a miniature corrie or dell scooped out of the hillside by diggers for sand or lead ore or by storm water rushing down the hill. A spring, now buried in sand, may once have flowed here and in the days of 'the king's wood of Chatton' there can have been few better hidden or more secluded hollows in the district. The entrance is guarded by two rock buttresses rather like the abutments of a bridge, on one of which is a small post hole about seven inches deep and of unknown date and purpose. A little way further out where the dell begins to die away, two weather-worn blocks of freestone project from its eastern bank, and the top of one of them has been roughly hewn down so as to leave partly in relief the stone bowl shown below. The vessel is nearly circular and is two feet in external diameter and six and a quarter inches deep, with a nearly flat bottom and a surrounding groove, half of which has been deepened with a sharp pointed chisel at a later date. On the nearly flat top of the boulder, east of the basin, are two rough depressions which appear to be part artificial and which afford comfortable footholds to a person standing so as to face westwards over it. very diverse opinions have been expressed as to the date and purpose of this nameless and legendless monument and in the present state of our knowledge it is best to leave these as open questions. The name Ketley or Kettley applied to this side of Chatton law has been said to be a corruption of cat Law (which occurs as a place-name in Chatton in 1616, see above) but some have seen in it an allusion to the stone bowl or 'kettle' while others think that it is related to the Scots word caterthun.