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I got a phone call from a very good friend of mine last week, saying he was coming to Yorkshire and did I want to meet up to discuss the new website I am writing for him, and also to go for a few walks over the moors.

An abandoned Grouse Butt on Hawkesworth moor.

An abandoned Grouse Butt on Hawkesworth moor.

Paul Bennett has explored the moors for 40 years and probably knows them better that just about anyone alive. He is an author of several books and contributor to magazines, he lecturers, consults and has discovered more prehistoric rock art, burial mounds and stone circles on the moors than anyone else. He is a acknowledged authority on the prehistoric sites in this area, and is also just a really good guy.

Another Grouse Butt

Paul moved to Scotland a couple of years ago, so he only comes to Yorkshire about 2 or 3 times a year, and I always take time off work to go ‘bimbling’ on the moors whenever he comes up. It is a real experience!

A prehistoric burial mound

A prehistoric burial mound – the city of Bradford is in the far distance

I picked Paul up at his parents house yesterday and we headed up to Hawkesworth moor. Paul said there were some burial mounds he wanted to see, and I had found a strange ‘anomaly’ on Google Earth that we wanted to investigate. It looked like the remains of a stone circle but we weren’t sure.

A closer shot of the mound

It was a beautiful afternoon and as we headed up on the moors we stopped and watched a pair of Red Kites soaring silently overhead. The Kites are a fairly new visitor as one of the local stately homes, Harewood House, has a started breeding program and now the kites are becoming a common and very welcome sight in the skies.

Another burial mound

Another probable burial mound –  the large green ‘hill’ in the distance is ‘The Chevin’, and the market town of Otley is nestled below

These moors are also contain a great many ‘cup and ring‘ carvings – prehistoric indentations and circles which are carved on rocks. Along with the more elaborate carvings there are more than 600 of these, and many more are being discovered all the time. We found several new ones on our walk.

A ‘cup stone’ near one of the burial mounds. Easy to miss if you don’t know what you are looking for.

The ‘Great Skirtful of Stones’ prehistoric tomb. 300 wagon loads of stones were removed from it 200 years ago to repair walls. It is still massive and must have stood at least 50 ft. high. It can still be seen as a ‘nipple’ from many miles away. I see it every time I look out of my window.

We soon got to the site of two burial mounds which were little more than ‘bumps’ protruding out of the heather. We didn’t disturb them in any way, we just showed them respect. Considering they are probably about 5000 years old it is amazing that they have remained intact all these years. We took lots of photos and Paul said there is some prehistoric tracks nearby, but they could only really be seen when the heather is much lower than it is now. We also found a couple of undiscovered ‘cup’ stones nestled in the deep heather.

One of the old Victorian reservoirs which are on the moors

One of the old Victorian reservoirs which are on the moors – we stopped for a drink here

Our ‘anomaly’ proved difficult to see – the heather was just too long for us to make anything out. But we had a good day out.

An old track winds across the beautiful moors

An old track winds across the beautiful moors – perfect walking country

I have booked a few days off work this week and we have some more ‘Bimbles’ planned 🙂

Walking back towards the car

The end of a superb day on the moors