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20 December 2003
Group seeks grant to move the Panorama Stones

The Doctor Little Heritage Group is behind a bid to preserve the Panorama Stones, a group of rocks with ancient cup and ring markings, located in Ilkley (England). The group has got the green light to prepare a plan to move them from the overgrown and neglected St Margaret's Park, Queen's Road, to the Manor House Museum.
     After a meeting with English Heritage, the group wanted to gauge local opinion. At a follow-up open meeting, no voices of dissent were raised against the plan to make replicas of the stones and move them. Parish councillor Brian Mann, the group's treasurer, said that everyone involved with the project had been astounded to learn that the prehistoric carvings, which could be 5,000 years old, were viewed as one of the most significant European examples of rock art.
     The cup and ring markings, made during the Neolithic or Bronze Age, are in serious danger of wearing away from natural erosion. In 1890, Dr Fletcher Little, medical officer at Ben Rhydding Hydro, bought the stones for 10 from the owner of the land at Panorama Rocks where they were situated, because the area was due for development. To preserve them for posterity, he arranged to have them moved to St Margaret's Park, surrounded by iron railings. While being moved the largest stone, known as the Panorama Stone, broke and had to be repaired.
     The plan is to make replicas of the stones to leave in St Margaret's Park while the actual stones themselves will be transported to a protective enclosure at the Manor House Castle Yard. This would allow the carvings on the replica stones to be recreated in their original glory while preserving what little is left of the originals.
     If a grant is awarded the money will go towards research and a feasibility study for the larger project of copying and moving the stones. Coun Mann is confident that the whole project can be completed with the help of the Countryside Agency after officials expressed support for the project in principle. But if the replica stones are not constructed the scheme to move the originals will not be followed through. A less ambitious plan will be substituted to leave the stones where they are with some sort of protective cover constructed to preserve them.

Source: Ilkley Gazette (19 December 2003)

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