The James Stone

Getting there

SE 15196 54722 (OS Explorer 297)

Fairly easy to get to – if you don’t mind getting wet feet. Just be warned, there are several  hidden dips in the long heather, some 2 or 3 ft. deep.

From Skipton in North Yorkshire – take the A59 towards Harrogate, and about 5 miles or so after the Bolton Abbey roundabout, you will come to the little church of Blubberhouses on the right – the signpost will point to Otley. From Blubberhouses church, walk up the slope (south) as if you’re going to Otley, for 100 yards or so, taking the track and footpath past the Manor House and onto the moor.  Once you hit the moorland proper, take the footpath that bears left going down into heather and keep going till you hit the dead straight Roman Road path running west onto Blubberhouses Moor. Carry along the Roman Road for about 200 yards, and looking right (if you squint) you can just make out a small pimple half way up the moor ridge about a quarter of a mile away. That is where you are heading.

This is a lovely little prehistoric standing stone, first discovered by my walking buddy James Turner and myself 2 years ago.

Through lush meadows with wildflowers, to the drab greens of the moors.

I say ‘first discovered’ – we think it is a new discovery, and can find no reference to it anywhere. It doesn’t appear in Cowlings ‘In Rombalds Way’ (1946), or in either of William Grainge’s (1871; 1895) detailed history works of the region. We consulted with various people and no one is able to find anything about it. So we claimed it as our own and named it in our honor (if anyone knows of this stone we will gladly give them full credit)…

Looking North from Lippersley. Blubberhouses moor stretches away, with the Roman road and the Greenplain settlement in the dip. Further on is Nidderdale.

As it is a new find, we are unable to discover anything associated with it in the way of legends (many standing stones have some sort of tales attached to them – usually involving the Devil in some guise). But this one is silent.

It is a lovely little chap too – standing about 4 and a half feet tall, and it appears friendly enough (not all do – believe me). It may have had something to do with the nearby unexcavated Green Plain settlement – although closer to it is (or was) another smaller settlement which we first encountered when we discovered the stone.

A little boundary stone half hidden in the deep heather. ‘D’ is probably for Denton – but I am not 100% sure. There are lots of boundary stones on these moors.

Since then Paul Bennett and myself have paid another visit to the stone and noticed, sadly, that the little settlement has been destroyed and all that exists are now a pile of stones and a muddy field.

A small cairn marks out the path on Blubberhouses moor. The Roman road is in the distance, and bypasses the Timble woods plantation.

I don’t think this was done on purpose – probably land clearing by the local farmer. But it is still a shame.

The Green Plain settlement – as large as a football pitch with a circuit wall running most of it’s circumference. Probably Bronze Age in origin, I wonder what the inhabitanta thought about having the Romans marching past their front door

This is a nice place to visit – regardless of whether you go to the James stone or not. The moors are stunningley beautiful, with lots of variety and several prehistoric carvings. It is a perfect place for a hike – with no one about. Great for an explore and blowing the cobwebs away!

For a couple of weeks at the end of August the heather turns a vibrant purple- adding extra drama to the moors.

There is so much waiting to be explored on these moors, who knows – you may find something new yourselves!



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