3 June 2007 Leader - Michael Southworth
- Oxenber Wood - Wharfe Wood - Feizor Nick - Celtic Wall - Dead Man's Cave - Feizor - Austwick
The walk started at the Game Cock Inn in Austwick and we went across Austwick Beck at Flascoe up onto Oxenber and followed the new path through Wharfe Wood to Feizor Nick. The bluebells were still in evidence in the woods, but past their best. All the Spring flowers had been early this year.
The new footpath through Wharfe Wood is an attractive addition with good views across to Crummackdale.
At Feizor Nick we turned right down into Feizor, where one of the party decided to rest a while for a cup of tea (it was a hot afternoon !) while the rest of us took the path leading to the so-called Celtic Wall. On the pasture around the Wall there was a fine show of mountain pansies in great profusion.
We then crossed the flat upland to Deadman's Cave and down onto the footpath leading from Stackhouse to Feizor. In Feizor we 'collected' our tea drinker and returned to Austwick down Hale Lane, pausing to look at a clump of Herb Paris which survives near Meldings Barn.
The following are extracts from H Speight's 1892 edition of 'The Craven and North West Yorkshire Highlands' :
The Celtic Wall
‘These remarkable constructions are extremely interesting, and, so far as I know, are unique in Yorkshire. They are of such proportions and strength as to be altogether beyond the requirements of a civilised age. Of the larger wall there remains a length of 66 feet, and it is 5 ½ feet high, 4 ½ to 5 feet thick at the base, and from 3 ½ to 4 feet at the top, running north and south upon natural and slightly raised ground, at an altitude of 1000 feet above sea level. The stones composing it are of various sizes, roughly hewn, and some very large, being at a yard or more from the ground a foot in thickness, from two to to four feet long, and one to one and a half wide. The stones are admirably laid, usually wedge-fashion, the whole forming without any kind of cement one compact and well-arranged mass. The other wall is of like thickness, but neither so long nor so high, only about 15 yards remaining. Although apparently continuous with the larger fragment it has evidently not been so, for the low ground separating the two walls has been denuded of stones for building with, which otherwise would have afforded good foundations in situ. They appear to have been parts of separate enclosures, but for what purpose intended the remains left afford no clue. There are indications to the west of the foundations of other walls, and it does not seem unlikely that they were erected as a rampart or protection to a community of dwellings built by the hardy natives after the Teutonic Conquest, fifteen centuries ago, in fact of like age as the neighbouring tumuli above described.'
(See the account of the foundation walls &c., on the summit of Ingleborough)
Dead Man’s Cave
‘Under the wall in this field is an opening in the limestone called Dead Man’s Cave. The entrance is large enough to admit the height of a man, and the cavern is accessible for a length of about 80 yards. No discoveries have been made in it within present recollection.’
‘The first mention of Feizor which I have discovered appears in a charter of Fountains Abbey, wherein John, the Abbot, receives the homage of Robert de Feghers, or Feser, in A.D. 1229. This family, however, held lands at Scosthrop, Calton and Feizor, in the previous century, but how, or the precise date when they were acquired does not transpire……..
The name of this place is curious, and rivals indeed in the variety of its spelling as well as in the obscurity of its meaning, the much-disputed Puteaco, or Pudsay. From various sources I have gathered upwards of a score different renderings of the name, and all contained in documents anterior to the 16th century, but the name, I may observe, does not occur in Domesday…….
I am inclined to think that the root of the word is to be found in the Latin fagus, a beech tree, although there are no beeches there now; the only native tree being the ash’