Posted by: rockrich | December 1, 2013

Final Team Meeting

The final CSI Rombalds Moor Project review meeting took place on Saturday 30th November at the Manor House, Ilkley.  It was great seeing many familiar faces there including members of the recording team, management team, Dr Keith Boughey and Yvonne Luke from English Heritage.

Presentations included some of the work undertaken over the last year, new finds, conditional and threat analysis and a discussion on future recording / monitoring post project.

Even though the project has come to a close, this blog will be kept open and periodically updated with follow up work and updated information on legacy.

Posted by: rockrich | October 11, 2013

Recording Completed

After a magnificent effort from all of the team, project recording, data entry and image archiving was completed last month. The data has now been passed to ADS and will be uploaded to England’s Rock Art database soon.

Hard to believe it’s been three years since the project launched in Ilkley and a call for volunteers was put out. After the trial phase in early 2011, the main recording phase kicked off in mid October 2011. Since then, nearly 500 panels have been recorded (some known lost / destroyed), photographed and areas immediately around the panels surveyed for other features. During the course of the project, we’ve brought records in from private archives and even added 42 new panels (varying degrees of probability). We’ve tested relatively new recording techniques such as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI / PTM) and also seen the emergence of user friendly 3D modelling, which has been trialled.  One of the main project outputs has been the Condition and Threat Assessments which have been undertaken for every carved rock found, new or old, simple or complex. These assessments will assist heritage managers and landowners in identifying those panels at risk and hopefully lead to action being taken to further protect them.

Thanks to everyone involved in the project, and look out for further information over the coming weeks as the data launch creeps nearer.

Posted by: rockrich | April 10, 2013

Europa Nostra Awards 2013

The Watershed Landscape Project has been awarded a Laureate in the European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2013 ( The 30 winners, across four categories, were selected from nearly 200 nominated projects. The Watershed Landscape Project is the only UK winner in the ‘Education, Training and Awareness-raising’ category, placing the heritage of the South Pennines and the work of its volunteers firmly on the European stage.

“The Jury thought the South Pennines Watershed Landscape a most imaginative project for raising awareness of a rich natural and archaeological heritage. Impressive in scale and multidisciplinary in approach, it tells fascinating stories, ensuring sustainable protection of the cultural landscape and enhancing regional development. It has turned a once-disregarded area into a popular destination, attracting wide interest among the local population, from children to a range of ethnic groups. A high standard of academic research was matched by extensive publicity through diverse popular channels.”

Of the 30 winning projects, six will be named as Grand Prix Laureates at the award ceremony in Athens and one of the winners will receive the Public Choice Award, based on an online poll conducted by Europa Nostra. Please register your vote for the Watershed Landscape Project by following this link (please note that you will be asked for three choices and can only vote for one UK Laureate).

Please spread the word!

Posted by: rockrich | December 9, 2012

WLP wins Landscape Award

A well deserved win for the Landscape Award, see more at

Posted by: rockrich | September 12, 2012

National Lottery Award Finalist!

The Watershed Landscape Project has made it through to the National Lottery Awards (Environment Category). Thank you to everyone who voted in the last round – we now need your vote again! Click here to go to the Awards website and cast your vote for this great Project.

The Watershed Landscape Project has reached the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards (environmental category). This is really very exciting and it is a great acknowledgement of the enthusiasm and commitment of the many volunteers working across the project. To see what the project has been up to, please visit

Please vote for us and help us make it to the finals!

You can vote online at by ‘phone: 0844 836 9699

(voting ends at midnight on 22nd July)


Posted by: rockrich | March 24, 2012

Magnificent March

In beautiful spring weather, the project pushed on through two milestones – the 200th panel recorded and then the halfway point of panels paper recorded.

With tree-felling imminent in the Rivock forest plantation and grouse nesting access restrictions until 31 July, the race was on to complete the recording of 44 panels in the Rivock plantation and the Rivock SW plateau.  Over 4 work days, the team worked very hard in difficult conditions, sometimes crawling on hands and knees in thick forest decked in high-vis tabards and protective goggles.   It was a terrific effort with team members working gruelling 7 hour days for the last two days – something we don’t intend to do again!

The Forestry Manager has been terrific, allowing us access and to take vehicles into the forest, providing maps and supplying stakes so that we could mark and tape around the panels to protect them from forestry damage.  In the areas to be felled and replanted, there’s even a commitment to create small glades around some of the panels.  At least 8 previously recorded panels have already been ‘lost’ under planting ridges and furrows or thick detritus cover.  The work that has been done by the team should ensure the long-term safety of what is a truly superb collection of panels, stylistically very different from surrounding areas.

In the forest, photographic conditions were challenging (for the photographers reading this blog, in one spot, Mike was shooting hand-held at 1/30sec, f/4, ISO6400) so it was decided to leave the photography and photogrammetry until after felling is complete).

Of the 45 panels including a few new ones in the forest and on Rivock SE plateau, over the two weeks, 42 were recorded including 8 recorded as lost, 1 is in Manor House museum and 2 are awaiting completion.  A really stunning effort from the team!

For the last week of March, we’ll ease back to a more leisurely pace and record the panels below Rivock Edge and around Rough Holden to SW of the plantation and then it’s on to the next sector.

By RedKiteYorks

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Posted by: rockrich | March 5, 2012

One Hundred and Eighty!

Ilkley Moor can be an inhospitable place in January and February but this year the opening months of the year have been very different from the last two years.  The fieldwork team lost only two of their nine scheduled working days but more than made up for it when on 23 February a record 17 panels were recorded in a single day despite it being cold and the cloud base almost at head height.  True, Libby and Jo had to gently scrape frozen snow off a couple of panels one day and on another frozen grouse droppings clung to the panels like superglue making photography challenging – but it has been a good month.

The last two working days were spent clearing up odds and ends, recording the last few panels in the third of the allocated sectors and mapping the archaeology of the Stead Crag cairnfield to get it done before the grouse nesting season.  The unusually mild weather has confused the grouse.  By early February they were already showing pre-nesting behaviour but a short spell off colder weather put a stop to that.  The recording team didn’t stop though and on the morning of 1 March clocked up their 180th panel.


On that beautiful and sunny day, recorders were sent out for just a morning’s work with the intention that most of the team would meet for lunch at the Cow and Calf at one.  Richard and Tony M were allocated to the two Hawksworth Shaw panels.  They found them soon enough but also found themselves in the Hawksworth Moor cairnfield.  With masses of archaeology to map, they left site at half past four.  A tired and very hungry Tony texted, “Fascinating archaeology BTW”.  What dedication!

Louise Brown, newly appointed Community Archaeologist replacing Gavin Edwards, met part of the team up at Lanshaw and came over to meet the team at the Cow and Calf – a big welcome to her.  Richard is working on a new simpler 3-D imaging technique to help us catch up on the photogrammetry backlog.  March sees moving to the other side of the moor to record Rivock and Rough Holden if Peter doesn’t grab the days for priority photogrammetry in the grouse breeding areas.

No-one expected the project to have covered so much work by the end of February and the Watershed Landscapes team are hugely appreciative of the commitment shown by team members.


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Posted by: rockrich | January 22, 2012

The January Blues

After an extended seasonal break, Blue Team restarted work on the third week of January.  With dodgy weather forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, a team of four turned out Tuesday on a dry, clear, cold and icy day with the advantage that the boggy moor was frozen and even the appalling ‘river of mud’ track left by the Emmerdale film crew was passable.  Tony Morley rejoined the team after an absence and plans to be out once a week – welcome back to him.  The Lanshaw Delves panels high up on the moor were tackled, the most distant of the panels to record on Ilkley Moor, and all five photogrammed and four of them fully recorded and photographed.  A feature consisting of a small cairn & semi-circular possible rubble wall remains and a hut platform with some timber remains (probably 20thC), were mapped to the location plan as were the remains of 7 lime kilns (see below).  It was sad to see the ancient Liberty boundary stone, “Lanshaw Lass” (carved with “ILB” in 1893 when the Ilkley Local Board bought Ilkley Moor from the Middleton family) still fallen and cast aside into a limestone extraction pit.

Wednesday was cancelled.  On Thursday, a quickly organised group of three went out in the afternoon to record and photograph the remaining Lanshaw Delves panel and went further S to find and record the panel reported near the Lanshaw Lad boundary stone.  It was eventually found 60m from the reported position and the conclusion was, as Keith Boughey (PRAofWR) had suspected, that the reported ‘pecked’ dimples were entirely natural.  They look to be root penetration of vegetation shortly after sediment deposition.  The rock was measured, identification photos taken and the decision made to do neither a panel plan, location plan, photogrammetry nor comprehensive photography.  On the way down, the weather closed in with horizontal hail and heavy rain.  Horrible, but at least a full team doesn’t have to make the long trudge.

The irrepressible Richard Stroud has also been in the field, not only helping out Red Team who is struggling to get enough volunteers out, but also to do Blue Team panoramas.

The Lanshaw Delves limestone boulder pits and lime kilns
The week before, Dave, Peter and Mike (who has been heard to say that ‘early industrial archaeology is far more interesting then Neolithic/EBA carved rocks’), did a recce visit and also reviewed the lime kiln remains on the S side of the Lanshaw Delves limestone boulder pits.  Late 19th and early 20thC accounts record up to 12 kilns but they concluded a possible 7 and they are possibly of 17th or early 18thC origin – but an expert opinion is needed.  Small finds of coal above kiln 1 show that they were coal fired.  A lost path from the middle of the Delves to the W end of Green Crag was spotted on the 1850 map and this links to the possible ‘loading platform’ identified by Al Oswald of English Heritage during CSI training.  Putting all these things together, it suggests a possible coal supply route from, perhaps, Baildon Moor and an onward lime supply route via the W of Green Crag to Ilkey.  Brief notes of the visit were passed to Watershed Landscapes/Pennine Prospects and contact was made with Dr David Johnson, a geographer, landscape archaeologist, author and a limestone industries expert, who directed the Ingleborough  Archaeology Group ‘Sow Kilns’ and other lime kiln excavations in the Dales.  David has kindly sent a copy of the Sow Kilns report, photographs and other documents and plans a visit with us to Lanshaw Delves following which a report will be made to the Community Archaeologist.  As far as we know, the Lanshaw kilns have never been properly investigated but some excavation of Lanshaw Delves was carried out in the 19thC.  by a Mr Jon. Hainsworth who was looking for prehistoric huts.

Alison Tymon of West Yorkshire Geology Trust, who some of you will know, passed on “A Sketch of the Pre-Historic Remains on Rombalds Moor”, Holmes, John 1886.  That article is interesting not only for the carved panels and other archaeology it records but also that it records Lanshaw Delves.

Holmes records that ‘in the memory of old people recently living’, oak and elm were, ‘often taken out of the bogs of Lanshaw and elsewhere’. (Lan-Shaw means ‘Long Copse’).  He says that Lanshaw Delves “has always attracted notice” and records that, before it was recognised as a limestone extraction/ lime burning site, various people took it to be either a Roman Camp or British village and that a Mr Forrest interpreted the limestone boulder extraction pits and trenches as, “a double and sometimes a triple row of hut dwellings, upwards of a mile in length by about 40 yards in breadth…..”.  Forrest interprets the lime kilns as the village bake-ovens: “which we conjecture these to have been, the common bakehouses of the community. There the game, whether wild boar or venison, was cooked, and the bread, if they had any, was baked ”  ….. “when the savoury morsel was done to the bone, then the door was opened, the mea t withdrawn, and the feast at once begun..” and for drink  “…water might be obtained from the springs above the swamp immediately in front.”   Ah, early British life was wonderful and bountiful!

Work programme – outstanding photogrammetry
The team are behind with photogrammetry with all the Green Crag Slack panels, several of the Green Crag panels, 5 Bingley Moor panels (and a few others) outstanding.  Almost all of them fall within the ‘red line area’ – panels that have to be completed before grouse start pairing up in March.  Whenever the panels are dry, a photogram team lead by either Peter or Dave will divert from the panels we are recording to photogram the red line panels.  Outside of Wednesday/ Thursday, Peter or Dave will occasionally call a photogram day and make ad-hoc contact with you.  Please help if you can.

Work programme – next panels
There are just 3 panels outstanding (apart from photogram) in the priority red line area and these are the 3 in the Backstone Beck Enclosure.  Each has a panel plan so they can be done by a small team.  After those, Blues will tackle the 15 panels along Pancake Ridge (the first escarpment above the road on Ilkley Moor E/Burley Moor W).  Then its W to the Hangingstones three, four panels W of Backstone Beck and eight panels on Cranshaw Thorn Hill & Ilkley Crags.  Workdays will normally be Wednesday and Thursday meeting 09.45 but, because of weather, subject to late-notice change.  A good turnout is needed if the team is not to get behind.  Jo Pinfield is rapidly regaining mobility and hopes to be out in the field and will gradually take over field supervision from Mike.

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Posted by: rockrich | January 12, 2012

Exploring Contexts

Over the last few years (literally), advances in the field of computer vision and development of a technology referred to as ‘Structure from Motion’ has seen an explosion of online applications that enable users to create and explore 3D environments through imagery captured with their own digital cameras.

Whilst many in the heritage sector, including universities, have dabbled in using and trialling the technology, no one seems to have grabbed it by the horns and adopted its usage on a medium – large scale project.

CSI: Rombalds Moor aims to put this right, by embracing the panoramic and zooming capabilities of Microsoft’s Photosynth. This application was the first to bring the new technology to the masses when launched in August 2008, and still remains one of the best.

Panoramas will be uploaded as the project progresses, and can be found at here:

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