Blakey Topping – North York Moors – OS SE87289380

BT reservoir
Hidden reservoir visible from Old Wife’s Way

Blakey Topping, the hidden hill, has a name like a syrup you’d expect an ice cream vendor to ask if you’d like it adding to your cornet, invisible from the main road (A169) and visually secondary by the obvious Hole of Horcum almost adjacent to it, but, with a little effort, easily accessible and definitely worth a visit.

BT Hazlehead Moor
Hazelhead Moor

The hill of Blakey Topping is another proposed ‘sacred hill’ like the nearby
Howden. They are believed by some authors to have been of ritual significance to the early inhabitants of the area and possibly the inspiration for some of the larger burial mounds and also the manmade Silbury Hill in Wiltshire.

BT Bridleway Steps
Blakey Topping has two quite different aspects depending on which direction it is viewed from. When approached from the west from the
Hole of Horcum along the track known as the Old Wife’s Way the hill appears steep sided with a distinctive flat top – very reminiscent of the hill in the film ‘Close encounters of the 3rd kind’. From the southeast, traveling across Thompson’s Rigg, the view is totally different and it is hard to believe it is the same hill, as its form is now conical and it looks strikingly similar to Howden Hill when viewed from the same angle.

BT Horse and Foal
In support of the sacred hill theory Blakey Topping has a small arrangement of 4 standing stones at its base to the southwest at
SE87209338 although it is not clear what these originally were.

BT Beck Leaping
My son is taking a little adjusting to the great outdoors, this kind of stuff takes effort and is away from his x-box comfort zone, but, he is realising it can be good fun, as long as there’s some compromise

Authors like Aubrey Burl and James Dyer suggest they were a stone circle while English Heritage believe they formed part of a stone alignment.

BT 2 stones
It is probable that some stones have been lost from the site and what remains is as follows. There are 2 stones on the west side in a SSW to NNE alignment, with the stone to the north being 80cm high, the top having been broken off. The southern stone stands 15 metres to the SSW and is 1.7 metres tall. On the eastern side of the alignment the southernmost stone is now part of the field boundary and is 20 metres to the southeast of the southern stone on the west side. It stands 1.3 metres above the modern ground level with a slight lean to the south. The north stone of this pair has been moved at some point in time and is now 85 metres north of its partner and is 1.1 metres high.

BT View from Thompsons Rigg
Blakey Topping viewed from Thompson’s Rigg

If the site was an alignment and not a circle then the line of these stones would have continued the curve formed by the 3 stones still in their original positions or formed 2 parallel rows, part of which survives as the 2 western stones – without knowing the original number and location of the stones it is impossible to tell.

BT Summit Fylingdales b/g
The summit of Blakey Topping with the blatant Fylingdales early warning system reminding us of things we’d rather not be reminded of on the horizon


Published by

Jurgen Tischler

My interests are mountaineering, buschcraft and leathercraft, not necessarily in that order. Being outdoors is the real buzz. I'm not trying to set any records or achieve any real targets, simply taking every opportunity to go out there and see what happens, this, is hopefully, a catalogue of the aforesaid pursuits.

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