Medieval dyke: part of deer park boundary west of Cow Green


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007593

Date first listed: 29-Sep-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Mar-1993


Ordnance survey map of Medieval dyke: part of deer park boundary west of Cow Green
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden (District Authority)

Parish: Crosby Ravensworth

National Grid Reference: NY 61236 11937

Reasons for Designation

Deer parks were areas of land, usually enclosed, set aside and equipped for the management and hunting of deer and other animals. They were generally located in open countryside on marginal land or adjacent to a manor house, castle or palace. They varied in size between 3ha and 1600ha and usually comprised a combination of woodland and grassland which provided a mixture of cover and grazing for deer. Parks could contain a number of features, including hunting lodges (often moated), a park-keeper's house, rabbit warrens, fishponds and enclosures for game, and were usually surrounded by a park pale, a massive fenced or hedged bank often with an internal ditch. Some parks were superimposed on existing fieldscapes and their laying-out may have involved the demolition of occupied farms and villages. Occasionally a park may contain the well preserved remains of this earlier landscape. Although a small number of parks may have been established in the Anglo-Saxon period, it was the Norman aristocracy's taste for hunting that led to the majority being constructed. The peak period for the laying-out of parks, between AD 1200 and 1350, coincided with a time of considerable prosperity amongst the nobility. From the 15th century onwards few parks were constructed and by the end of the 17th century the deer park in its original form had largely disappeared. The original number of deer parks nationally is unknown but probably exceeded 3000. Many of these survive today, although often altered to a greater or lesser degree. They were established in virtually every county in England, but are most numerous in the West Midlands and Home Counties. Deer parks were a long-lived and widespread monument type. Today they serve to illustrate an important aspect of the activities of medieval nobility and still exert a powerful influence on the pattern of the modern countryside. Those deer parks which survive well, are well-documented, and contain within their boundaries significant well-preserved evidence of earlier landscapes, are normally identified as nationally important.

This section of deer park boundary dyke is reasonably well preserved and is one of a group of dykes which together enclosed the deer park on, and adjacent to, Cow Green, Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor. Together these dykes form an extensive and complex system of medieval land division and will contribute to any study of the history of land use in the marginal areas of this region.


The monument is a c.530m length of dyke and ditch west of Cow Green which formed a boundary, or pale, of a medieval deer park. It is virtually semi-circular and encloses land to the east. It measures up to a maximum of 4.2m wide and 1.1m high and is flanked by a ditch up to 1m wide on at least one and occasionally both sides. The dyke is one of seven lengths of dyke associated with the deer park at, or adjacent to, Cow Green, Crosby Gill and Hazel Moor. Additionally five medieval shielings are located in close proximity to lengths of the dyke. The deer park was enclosed in 1336 by the Threlkeld family of Crosby Lodge, then called Crosby Gill, and extended to about 700 acres. During medieval times it was owned successively by the families of Pickering, Wilson and Rawlinson.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 22500

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Higham, N, Jones, B, The Carvetti, (1985), 83-90
Relph, J T, The Chronicles of Crosby Ravensworth, (1992), 32
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)

End of official listing