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I rarely venture onto Morton moor. Not because I dislike it, but it is difficult to park anywhere near the moor. A windy, twisty, narrow road winds around the moor and it is always busy with few parking places.

But this week my good mate Paul Bennett is down here from Scotland where he lives, and he suggested we go onto Morton moor. He was keen to see if the heather had been burnt back as there are remains of a prehistoric settlement he wanted to see.

So on a stunningly beautiful autumn morning, we managed to find a rare parking spot and entered the moor, walking through ankle deep bracken and disturbing a small flock of sheep who obviously weren’t acccustomed to seeing humans on these moors.

The views were superb, you could see for miles and miles – and the light was perfect for photographs.

These moors are full of Legends and old Myths and Paul knows most of them – he has written about them in his blog.

Wading through waist deep dry bracken – look out for ticks – I always tuck my trouser bottoms into my socks when in bracken

Looking in the far distance we could see the ridge of the moors, there are the remains of an old prehistoric stone circle here – recently discovered, many of the stones are in the deep heater, but still 8 or 9 are standing. It is difficult to locate and unrecorded and I doubt that no more than 4 or 5 people know of it’s existance.

Eventually we got to an area where the heather had been burnt back. The gamekeepers do this periodically as it encourages new growth and this feeds the grouse – which are subsequently shot. But we like burnt areas on these moors as once the heather is burnt many of the artefacts underneath are exposed. Often prehistroic rock art and hut circles see the light for the first time in years.

Unfortunately no goodies were found here, so off we went towards the area where the settlement is.

Paul said that there was also a Neolithic cemetery close by with a dozen or so unexcavated burial mounds – but when we got to the area we were disappointed to see that the bracken was dry but hadn’t been burnt – thus covering up all the remains.

Bingley Moor

A 10th Century Christian stone cross lies on these moors in the far distance. Miles away from any paths or road no one knows what it is doing here.

A straight line of grouse butts lie across the moors.

Many of the stones are covered in prehistoric carvings. They are hard to date, but the concensus is that they are between 5 and 7 thousand years old and no one has a clue as to their meaning. But they are fascinating, and can be very hard to find as they are often buried in the deep heather. There are over 400 on these moors – many are unrecorded. We found 4 new ones.

So now it was time to leave these stunning moors, and get on with the rest of the day.

We walked down the gamekeepers track, past some new grouse butts which are used for shooting these fine (and tasty) birds, and headed home.

We’ll be back soon – I want to find the ancient cross on the moors, but we didn’t have time this trip.

By the way, Paul has an article in this months (October) ‘Dalesman‘ magazine about the Twelve Apostles stone circle which are on these moors, and I have illustrated it with some photographs. Get yours today  🙂