A free exhibition of large format colour and monochrome images of Megalithic sites by Steve Francis at Artsmill Gallery in Hebden Bridge. The exhibition runs between Wednesday 22nd August and Sunday 23rd September 2007.
Small desolate moor to the West of Halifax, above Mytholmroyd. Much evidence of ancient habitation, but little charted on OS map. There are three bronze age enclosures to the south of Crow Hill which I have yet to confidently find.
You can park on the roadside in Midgely or walk up from Mytholmroyd Station
The mistaken impression I got from most of the previous fieldnotes is that (a) it's a bit of a slog getting to the stones and (b) they're not that easy to find. As someone famous for misreading even the simplest of maps/directions and blithely walking past circles standing in plain sight I thus approached my visit to this one with some trepidation. Well, all I can say after my visit is that this was one of the easiest I've made so I thought I'd set out my directions in the hope they'll inspire others to follow because the Twelve Apostles are well worth spending half an hour with, almost for the views alone; were those really the dishes of the Fylingdales early-warning (or whatever they're used for now) station gleaming whitely in the far distance off the the north-east?
So; if you're coming by car, drive into Ilkley town centre then follow the sign for 'Ilkley Moor' which leads to a turning signposted 'Cow and Calf Rocks.' Follow this all the way to the cafe sited under said rocks where you can park. Unless you want to mingle with all the sightseers on the rocks, take the rougher left-hand path which goes behind them and stay on this until you reach the Backstone Beck. On crossing, again take the rougher left-hand path; although this climbs more steeply it cuts a large corner off the route you would otherwise follow in taking the lower, smoother path until it intersects with the Dales High Way. When you reach the High Way by the higher path you simply turn left on to it and keep going until you reach the stones; after crossing another small beck the path is laid out in large flagstones so your feet won't even get wet. I reckon it's a mile/mile and a half at most.
It's a very evocative spot, unusual in that you can see urban areas to north, south and east yet you're still in the sort of seclusion that only a moorland site can offer. Don't expect to have the stones all to yourself especially at weekends, judging by the number of walkers about on the Sunday afternoon of my visit though I still got twenty minutes; it's probably less busy during the week.
They're a quirky little group, sitting in their clearing surrounded by gorse and heather. I imagine it could get quite dark up there on a day when the clouds are low and the rain horizontal but on a pleasantly bright mid-September afternoon the moor was a fine place to be and I left the stones uplifted and ready for the two-hundred-mile drive back to London.
To be more explicit as to directions: As can be seen from the OS map, fom the car park at the Cow and Calf Rocks, follow the road uphill and strike off right at a signpost just before the Cow and Calf, which directs you onto the steeper slope. This will take you to the first level, to the right of the Pancake Stone, which you may wish to visit. The moor proper is at the second level, which can be seen straight ahead. The path is marked by a thick post visible on the skyline, more or less behind the Pancake Stone. Once there, just follow the well-defined track, which bears slightly to the left, and you’ll soon see ‘The Shed’ off to your left, after a small lake. You may wish to visit the Grubstones, and then carry on as in the instructions in the entry below this.
To try to pin down the location: You’ll see the ‘Thos. Pulleyn’ stone from the path, but carry on until you reach the stile a short way further on, which you have to climb over. From the top of the stile, if you look southeast (halfway to your right) the circle is about 50m distant, just where the land drops away. You can't actually see it because of the dip. Alternatively, walk about 40 paces southwards along the fence line, and go about 40 paces at a right angle from there. So, I figure the circle has to be about 100m SSE of the 'Thos. Pulleyn' stone.
The circle may best be appreciated with Arthur Raistrick’s survey at hand. I don’t know if there’s been interference, but the central setting is not now as he depicts. It’s a complete near-true circle of 20 stones with a loose stone inside. What’s more, it’s not offset as far southwards as he shows it - it’s almost central. The stones of the outer ellipse are still recognisable from his survey, though some of the smaller stones, particularly at north and south, appear to have been moved. A few are larger than he shows. It may look ragged, but this is a fascinating circle, or enclosure, or whatever it is.
As an aside, if you approach the ring from the Cow and Calf via the Grubstones then instead of walking back the same way you can go on to the Twelve Apostles. Just continue south on the path a few hundred metres to the Horncliffe Well (following the fence, and over a stream) where there’s a stone wall with a stile, and a path on the other side. Turn right (NNW) and you’ll eventually re-negotiate the wall, and almost bump into the circle at the top of the long, long, rise - soon after a modern milestone at a track joining from the left. Be aware that the track can get boggy after rain. As a closing note, from the Apostles continue northwards and take the stone-flagged path on the right, downhill at the fork / junction, then go right at Gill Head (where the path drops sharply) to follow the stream back to the rear of the Cow and Calf Rocks, where you cross it. The entire trip should pass away a good few hours!
The circle can also be approached from the south (shorter), via the Horncliffe Well.
West Yorkshire Archaeology Service, undertaking a phased programme of survey and excavation to study and record the threatened landscape setting of Ferrybridge Henge, excavated two circles of pits at SE 475 241 (LO). The pit circles were found outside and to the south-east of the Ferrybridge Henge (SE 42 SE 31). Both pit circles measured around 16m in diameter, and had a central post-pit; they were formed by 13 and 14 post settings. (1)
[SE 474242] Circular soil mark, average diameter 180m with a possible entrance to the SW. Possible a henge, comparable in size and situation with the Thornborough circles 36 miles to the NW [SE 27 NE 4]. (1)
Surveyed at 1/2500. This feature lies mainly in two ploughed fields and is visible as a circular bank of very slight profile, now considerably spread by cultivation and partly destroyed by the cutting of a new road. Two slight depressions in the bank to NE and SW probably indicate original opposed entrances, both of which are now bisected by a modern track. APs show markings of an outer ditch in the NW quadrant which is visible on the ground as a superficial depression, but is not surveyable. The interior of the enclosure has a slightly domed appearance, which is probably caused by the ploughing out of an internal ditch. The earthwork has all the characteristics of Atkinson's Class IIa 'Henge', thus favouring its comparison with the Thornborough Circles. (2)
In May 1992 the RCHME: Ferrybridge Henge Project recorded the cropmark of a circular henge ditch, 10m in width, at SE 4746 2424. The ditch has opposed entrances to the ENE and WSW; both east and west terminals of the southern arc are clearly defined, but those of the northern arc are slighted by a farm track. The maximum width of the causeway entrances is estimated as 20m for the ENE and 30m for the WSW. Concentric with the ditch and outside it, a bank approximately 15m wide, also has opposed entrances. Both entrance terminals are recorded on the WSW, and on the ENE that of the southern arc only (the NE quadrant of the bank is now destroyed). Between the inner ditch and the henge bank is a berm approximately 25m wide. Outside the bank is an ill-defined ditch, maximum width 26m, which is recorded on all sides except in the destroyed NE quadrant; this would confirm the previous classification by Authority 2 of a Class IIa Henge. A previous air photo transcription omits the outer ditch (3a). The internal diameter of the henge measures 100-102m; the external diameter of the henge measures 240-260m. The cropmark of a ring ditch (SE 42 SE 61) occupies the full width of the berm at SE 4748 2418, in the SSE sector of the henge. The relationship between the ring ditch and the henge is not clear. A full report and a plan can be found in the NMR archive (Coll UID 922907). West Yorkshire Archaeology Service is undertaking a phased programme of survey and excavation to study and record the threatened landscape setting of the henge monument (3b). Excavation in 1991 of a section across the henge earthwork also confirmed the presence of an outer ditch and revealed details of the bank's construction. (3) SE 474 246. Earthwork W of Ferrybridge. Scheduled No WY/720. (4)
Cropmark/soilmark remains of the henge at Ferrybridge were recorded as partof a 1:2500 scale aerial photographic survey carried out by the RCHME between 6th and 9th June 1997 as part of the RCHME: Industry and Enclosure in the Neolithic project. The plan of the henge and surrounding features, digital files and report are held by the RCHME (Collection UID: 1082880). (5)
The henge at Ferrybridge is visible as cropmarks and slight earthworks on air photographs. It has been recorded as part of a 1:10000 scale aerial photographic survey carried out by the Lower Wharfedale NMP project. The henge is as described by previous authorities. The ring ditch of the barrow that is located within the henge (described by authority 3 and also in SE 42 SE 61) has also been plotted as part of this survey. For the sake of clarity all the features associated with the henge shall be described in records SE 42 SE 132 and SE 42 SE 133.