OS grid reference: NY 3140 0583. Copt Howe is 1 mile north-west of Chapel Stile village on the B5343 Langdale fell road and 250 metres south of Harry Place farm. The town of Ambleside is 4 miles to the east. Close to the road and opposite Langdale beck, a huge glacial erratic boulder has cup-markings and other forms of rock-art carved onto it that could well date back to the Early Neolithic age. The large rock is quite accessible from a footpath and stile beside the main road. There are other boulders close by that have cup-markings, but whether these were more recently carved, is open to conjecture. But for certain those on the large boulder are made by the hands of prehistoric people.
The large glacial boulder has a smooth, flat surface that displays numerous rock carvings near it’s base. There are some tiny cup-markings, but also concentric circles, strange half-moon shapes, strong lines and very thin lines going off in different directions, at least 11 larger cups with many rings, triple grooves and what could be a chevron-like symbol. One cup marking, in particular, has at least 11 rings around it and lines going off from it in a strange sort of way and terminating suddenly further down the rock face. These prehistoric carvings are said to date from the Early Neolithic age upto 6,000 years ago. They could, in fact, represent a sort of Stone Age map of the Langdale fells, the stone itself sited at a strategic point on the approach to where the rock-outcrops and crags can be visibly seen on the horizon; something akin to ley-lines, perhaps. Nearby there is the site of the Langdale axe factory where there have been some superb finds.
However, some sceptics think the carvings were done in the Victorian age. True, possibly some of the cup-marks on other boulders, may have been carved in recent times by some copy-cat or hoaxer, but the carvings on the large glacial boulder were almost certainly done by the hands of Neolithic people, rather like some of us draw graffiti on walls. They were leaving their mark as it were. Other rock carvings may well lie still undetected on the rocks around the Copt Howe area – just waiting for some intrepid rock-art enthusiast to come along and find them.