Blakey Topping

There are three primary characters that feature in the local folklore regarding the creation North York Moors landscape, Wade the Giant, his wife Bell and the Devil or Ould Scratch. In the case of Blakey Topping there are two main folk tales that explain the creation of the hill.

The first tale is that Blakey Topping was created by Wade the Giant. Wade and his wife Bell had a falling out, Wade became angry and Bell ran off over the moors. In his rage Wade, scooped up handfuls of earth and threw them across the moors at Bell. Blakey Topping, Roseberry Topping and Freebrough Hill were the result. The place where he scooped the earth from is now the Hole of Horcum

Blakey Map

The second tale concerns an unnamed witch who made a pact with the devil that involved surrendering her soul. When the devil met the witch to claim his prize, she changed her mind and flew off over the moors. The devil then scooped-up handfuls of earth and threw them at the witch. Those handfuls of earth are now Blakey Topping and Howden Hill. As with Wade, the place where he scooped the earth from created the Hole of Horcum, which is also known as the Devil’s Punchbowl, it is said that you can still see his finger marks on the sides of the great depression. The route the witch took to escape the devil is a track called The Old Wife’s Way.

There are three standing stones at the bottom of the hill, these have been interpreted as the remains of a stone circle or a stone avenue




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