Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric enclosure, carved rocks and orthostat wall, Buck Wood, 195m west of football ground

A Scheduled Monument in Idle and Thackley, Bradford

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Latitude: 53.8481 / 53°50'53"N

Longitude: -1.7364 / 1°44'11"W

OS Eastings: 417435.641952

OS Northings: 439130.548518

OS Grid: SE174391

Mapcode National: GBR JR9Y.V9

Mapcode Global: WHC93.9JCT

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosure, carved rocks and orthostat wall, Buck Wood, 195m west of football ground

Scheduled Date: 22 March 2016

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1429927

County: Bradford

Electoral Ward/Division: Idle and Thackley

Built-Up Area: Bradford

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Idle Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument encompasses a prehistoric enclosure, five earth-fast gritstone rocks carved in the cup-and-ring tradition, and an orthostat wall.

Source: Historic England


Principal elements: Upstanding earthworks and associated buried deposits of a prehistoric enclosure, an orthostatic wall, and a group of carved rocks.

Prehistoric Enclosure
The enclosure is situated in woodland (2016); it occupies a natural terrace close to the crest of the valley side, facing south-west and was considered to be domestic in nature. It takes the form of a roughly north-west to south-east aligned oval, measuring 82m along the long axis and 78m across the short axis. The enclosure is bounded by a single rampart with a maximum height of 0.5m and a spread width of between 3m and 5m. Excavation in 2009 showed that the rampart consisted of a 2.2m wide wall, built with an outer and inner face of carefully laid dry-stone sandstone slabs, with a packed central infill of sandstone rubble. Possibly due to a collapse, the rampart on the north-western side of the enclosure was built in two phases; the earlier phase was built up from the base of the slope, whereas, the later phase follows the crest of the slope and incorporated part of the earlier phase in its construction. Apart from an earth-fast boulder, much of the eastern side of the rampart has been robbed, possibly to supply stone for the construction for near-by modern dry-stone walls.

The interior of the enclosure is relatively flat apart from a raised ovoid platform demarcated by a buried low rubble wall. The platform contains the collapsed remains of two or possibly more closely sited circular or crescent shaped features. Excavation showed that the circular features had dry-laid stone walls that survive up to 0.55m in height. One of the platforms has a stone slab floor with stone walls, which included a re-used gritstone rock with cup and groove marking on its upper surface (Ilkley Archaeology Group (IAG) reference 10a, NGR - SE 17442 39101). It is likely that further traces of contemporary buildings, pits and associated remains will survive here in the form of below ground archaeological features that have not been investigated or excavated.

Orthostat Wall
The orthostat wall has been interpreted as part of an Iron Age field system. It is about 1m high, and gently curves in a north-easterly direction for approximately 56m from the northern edge of the enclosure, to where a modern dry-stone wall field boundary runs up against it. It is built of un-worked, dry-laid, local stone blocks, most of which are set on edge, laid on a rubble base, forming a low retaining wall. Neither the course nor the full extent of the orthostat wall has been fully determined beyond the modern dry-stone boundary wall; however, it is known that it continues intermittently north-westwards into the woodland. It is thought that the southern end of the orthostat wall once butted up against the enclosure wall, but this been lost due to the presence of a modern footpath. One of the larger gritstone rocks used in the construction of the orthostat wall (IAG9c, NGR - SE 17418 39163) has cup carvings and other features incised into its upper surface.

Carved Rocks
Five earth-fast gritstone cup carved rocks are located within or close to the enclosure; one within the oval enclosure (IAG10a, NGR - SE 17442 39101), three immediately to the north-east (IAG10b, NGR - SE 17456 39155, IAG10c, NGR - SE 17456 39162, IAG10d, NGR - SE 17465 39156) of the enclosure rampart, and one re-used within the adjacent orthostat wall (IAG9c, NGR - SE 17418 39163). The number of exposed cup marks varies from rock to rock, ranging from one to nine cups, with further carved detail possibly concealed below ground. The cup marks vary in diameter, approximately 2-4cm and are carved on the upper surfaces of the stones; in addition, some of the stones also have grooves cut into their surfaces, with some of the grooves linking with or encompassing the cup marks.

Extent of Scheduling
The scheduled area is ‘tear-drop’ in shape as indicated on the map and it measures a maximum length of 162m on the north-east to south-west axis, by 98m on the north-west to south-east axis. This area includes the full known extent of the prehistoric enclosure, five earth-fast carved rocks, and an orthostat wall which extends for 56m from the enclosure. Further carved stones that are not earth-fast have been identified in the wider woodland, but these are no longer in their original locations and have not been included.

The two posts of an information panel adjacent to the prehistoric enclosure, the dry-stone wall which abuts the eastern boundary of the scheduled area, a modern carved stone that is laid against the dry-stone wall, and the modern spiral stone setting are all excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The prehistoric enclosure, carved rocks and orthostat wall, Buck Wood are scheduled for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: this prehistoric monument is a very rare survival within a relatively low lying and urbanised area, complementing the survival of more upland prehistoric sites surviving across West Yorkshire’s moorlands;
* Diversity/Period: the monument includes a wide range of features ranging from Bronze Age rock art through to remains of late prehistoric occupation;
* Survival/Potential: small scale sample excavation has demonstrated the survival of prehistoric structural remains and the positive archaeological potential of the monument.

Source: Historic England


A Breath of Ancient Aire - The archaeological project in Buck Wood, Thackley, 2009, accessed 24th December 2015 from
Buck Wood, Bradford - Archaeological Survey Report 2006, accessed 24 Dec 2015 from
Buck Wood, Bradford. Geophysical Survey, Contractors Report No. 1934 for Friends of Buck Wood
Prehistoric Rock Art of the West Riding, Cup-and-ring-marked rocks of the valleys of the Aire, Wharfe, Washburn and Nidd, Boughey K J S and Vickerman E A, 2009
The Archaeology of Buck Wood, Thackley, West Yorkshire, JB Archaeological Services, November 2009

Source: Historic England

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