The Standing Stones

The Two Lads

This spot is surely one of the most desolate spots in Calderdale, high on Withins Moor above Withins Clough reservoir. The legend behind the stones says that two young lads were crossing the moor when they encountered a sudden snow storm and sheltered behind two rocks. Their frozen bodies were found later and ever since stones have been piled on top of the two rocks to commemorate their death. The “cairns” were obviously rather bigger at one time as can be seen by comparing the drawing from the Todmorden and Hebden Bridge Historical Almanack of 1877 with my photo from summer 2004.

The Two Lads - 1877

The Two Lads - 2004

Churn Milk Joan

A.K.A. Churn Milk Peg, this boundary stone can be found on Midgely Moor roughly half way between Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge. It's unclear how old the stone is though it seems unlikely it's prehistoric. The legend goes that a milk maid called Joan froze to death while crossing the moor and the stone was erected on the spot where her body was eventually found.

The stone is said to turn round three times on New Year's Eve when the bells from St Michael's church in Mytholmroyd strike midnight. There's a hollow on top of the stone where passing walkers usually place a few coins.

Churn Milk Joan

The Bridestones

These grotesque but natural rock formations occupy the moors above Todmorden. Legend associates them with pagan worship and ancient marriage ceremonies, indeed the curious “bottleneck” stone (so called because it resembles an upturned bottle impossibly perched on its neck) is often called the Bride, while the toppled stone next to it was once known as the Groom.

Bottleneck Bride

Information from Paul Weatherhead

Author of 'Weird Calderdale'

Pub: Tom Bell Publishing