Weekend Walks: The Stanza Stone Poetry Trail

A 50 mile walk that takes in all 6 of the 'Stanza Stones'...

By Ben Brown | Last updated 27 July 2022

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The Dew Stone at Rivock Edge // Ilkley Literature Festival

Okay, first question; ‘What are the Stanza Stones?

Well, they are actually large, carved poems written by Simon Armitage, each one creating a walking route that will take you through the Pennine watershed from Marsden to Ilkley – a total of 47 miles (76km).

The stones themselves were commissioned by the Ilkley Literature Festival back in 2010, tasking Simon Armitage to write a set of site-specific poems which would create a trail that would take in the stunning Pennine scenery from Armitage’s home town of Marsden, to the festival location of Ilkley.

Simon Armitage doing the walk himself // Ilkley Literature Festival

Leg 2 of the walk – Luddenden Dean // Ilkley Literature Festival

There are six Stanza Stones in total, with a mythical Seventh Stone which Armitage notes “those looking hard enough might stumble across a seventh Stanza Stone, a secret stone left in an unnamed location within the Watershed area, waiting to be discovered and read.”

It’s still not been found 10 years later, with many postulating that the final, secret stone was placed too close to water and was subsequently washed away during a flood.

The walk itself was created by the Long Distance Walkers Association and is a total of 47 miles long with a total ascent of 5,860 ft.

Below you can download the official walk for you to get to grips with, it might be a bit too much for one day so perhaps going away for the whole weekend is an option, or even better – repeat visits to get them ticked off.

The Snow Stone
Pule Hill, Marsden
(53.594011°N 1.956117°W – SE031108)

The Rain Stone
Cow’s Mouth Quarry, off A58 road between Littleborough and Ripponden
(53.668598°N 2.057431°W – SD964191)

The Mist Stone
Nab Hill, near Oxenhope
(53.790822°N 1.952877°W – SE033327)

The Dew Stones
Rivock Edge, off the road from Silsden to East Morton
(53.900426°N 1.891894°W – SE073449)

The Puddle Stones
Whetstone Gate Wireless Station, Rombalds Moor
(53.902160°N 1.835578°W – SE110451)

The Beck Stone
Backstone Beck, Ilkley Moor
(53.917397°N 1.812680°W – SE125468)

Download the Stanza Stones Poetry Trail Guide

Some lovely moors scenery and rare clear skies

An alternative walk was also created by Mike Melvin, who wanted to “devise an upland walk linked the stones which did not stick to recognised footpaths or to existing well-known walking trails.”

Mike Melvin’s Alternative Route