Stone Circle: OS Grid Reference – SD 979 563
Also Known as:
- Crookrise Woods
There are several ways to get here, but I took the one from the road (B6265) walking up the track into Crookrise Woods. Unless you’ve got a decent OS-map with it marked on, this might take some finding to some folk as it’s tucked away on the northern edge of Crookrise Woods (which one Southerner bloke told us was private – though he was ‘allowed’ there!). It’s right on the rounded knoll at the top of the woods, beneath the prominent slopes which lead to the moor.
Archaeology & History
Our old mate and Yorkshire historian Arthur Raistrick seems to have been the first to describe this place in the Yorkshire Archaeological Register of 1964 – though the holy wells writer Edna Whelan told me she knew about the place many years back. Today hidden in woodland and mostly overgrown, Raistrick’s brief description of the place said:
“A small stone circle of six stones set symmetrically within a diameter of 26 feet. The stones vary in size from 21 to 58 inches. Surveyed 1963.”
The site has been badly affected by the erosion of time, forestry and god-knows what else. Scattered around are numerous small stones giving the impression that it may once have been a cairn-circle, more than a stone circle. Four of the six stones mentioned by Raistrick (1965) are visible, but none are impressive – and unless you’d read about the place first or found it in Mr Burl’s Stones Circles of Britain… (2000), you wouldn’t really give it the time of day.
Although sadly disappointing in its present status – completely surrounded by trees, with no view at all – it seems probable that it would have had some geomantic relationship with the hillfort-looking site of Rough Haw immediately west, and very probably the adjacent ritual site of Sharp Haw. It seems that the equinox sun would set between Rough Haw and the other small rounded hill above.
Burl, Aubrey, The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press 2000.
Raistrick, Arthur, ‘Yorkshire Archaeological Register: Embsay,’ in Yorkshire Archaeological Journal, 1964.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian