The walls here look so good 'cos they were excavated and rebuilt in the late 1980's. Excavations revealed signs of settlement on this spot stretching back 9000 years. Possible started as a mesolithic hunting camp.
Parts of the walls of this enigmatic enclosure are really fresh. The facing stones and the rubble in-fill show that dry stone wall building techniques have changed very little in the past 3 thousand years.
Well worth a visit.
It was good to hear that Chris Collyer had a hard time finding the stones first time out......after finding only 1 of the larger carved stones I feel less of a nubber for it.
In the entrance to the D-shaped part of the enclosure on the right-hand side of the wall is a small single cup marked(?) slab.
If you follow the track that leads west from the Haystack rock and then swing round to the south you pass the partly reconstructed Backstone Beck Enclosure. Between the arc of drystone walling and the path, and northwest of the hut are 3 carved rocks nestling in the heather and almost in a northwest line.. The last time I was here I completely failed to find them, even though I must have walked within a couple of feet of one of them – this time as I approached from the south and had a better idea where they were I had more luck. Stone 1 is at SE12824619 and measures 180x130cm with around 45 cups, a couple of unfinished rings or arcs and several grooves – it lies just to the east of the path. Stone 2 is a little further southeast at SE12844617, it has about a dozen cups, 2 of which are quite deep, and measures 170x130cm. Stone 3 is the one I really wanted to find and when I located it a little further south at SE12834615 I couldn’t help letting out a Marc Riley stylee “Oh Yeessshh”. The stone is known as the Second Idol Stone and it’s easy to see why – a 130x80cm low stone with 24 cups and 5 deep grooves. Nine of the cups are zoned within a groove at the northeastern end and a further 6 run in a line between the edge of that groove and another that runs nearly the entire length of the stone. This rock is very similar to the Idol Stone 500 metres to the southeast – I wonder if they were carved by the same person?
This site is fairly easy to find if you follow the course of Backstone Beck after it crosses a track leading south-west from the Cow and Calf, the settlement is on the east of the beck.
It consists of 2 possible hut circles at the south end that have been somewhat restored and part of a curved low rubble wall that has also been restored (Ilkley Archaeology Group 1982-87). A suggested date for the earliest use of the site is around 3000BC, with the hut circles dated much later at somewhere between 800 and 500BC
There are also said to be 3 carved rocks within the enclosure but as I was short of time that day I didn't have the time to find them.
"Known as the backstone Beck enclosure, this prehistoric site consists of extensive low rubble walling encompassing a small ridge that runs north towards the Backstones Beck ravine. It is now known that the walling belongs to the later bronze Agre (800-500 BC) but there is clear evidence that this area was a favourite camp-site for about two thousand years or more before that. many flints, some small fragments of pottery, pert of a shale bangle and the rim of a jet cupo have been unearthed during excavations on this site. Charcoal from four deposits on the site indicates sporadic use of the site from about 2,500 BC."
From "Find The Past on Ilkley Moor"
Pub. Bradford Metropolitan Council.