The Queen Dike: part of a cross-dyke 600m east of Wold Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Ryedale (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 81039 61250

Reasons for Designation

Cross-dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross-dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well- preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The Queen Dike is part of an extensive system of prehistoric dykes which have been recorded on the Wolds. The Queen Dike appears to have subdivided the top of Deepdale Wold and it also cuts across the line of another prehistoric dyke which seems to have defined a boundary along the western edge of the Wold.

The cross-dyke is associated with a group of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age barrows in the vicinity of Hanging Grimstone. Similar groups of sites are also known from other parts of the Wolds and from the southern edge of the North York Moors. Such associations between monuments offer important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes. Additionally, some of the barrows in the Hanging Grimstone area are distributed parallel to a line later adopted by a Roman road; this distribution implies some continuity of land-divisions from at least the Early Bronze Age into the Roman period.


The monument includes the best-preserved part of a cross-dyke which subdivides the south-eastern arm of Deepdale Wold. This part of the dyke is known as the 'Queen Dike' and, of all the prehistoric linear earthworks in this area of the Wolds, it is the only stretch of cross-dyke to have a traditional name. The northern terminal of the cross-dyke lies near the bottom of an un-named slack at the head of Water Dale; here the dyke is visible as an earthwork, comprising a 4m wide bank up to 1m high and flanked on each side by a 5m wide ditch. The ditch on the western side of the bank is 0.5m deep; that on the eastern side is 0.3m deep. As the dyke rises out of the slack, the earthworks have been altered by agricultural activity and become gradually less distinct, although the bank survives beneath the present hedgerow for a further 50m. The 1976 edition of OS 1:2500 scale map shows that the bank and western ditch were still identifiable as earthworks which ran either side of the present field boundary to within 20m of the Malton road; although the height of the bank has been reduced by ploughing and the flanking ditches infilled, their remains will survive beneath the ploughsoil. The dyke originally continued across the top of the Wold to the brow of Washpit Dale; it was subsequently cut across by the Roman road between Malton and Brough, (whose course is now followed by the present highway). To the south-west of the road, the below- ground remains of the cross-dyke have been observed on aerial photographs but this stretch is less well-preserved, since it is no longer used as a field boundary and has been under cultivation for a considerable time. All fences and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 96, 102
Record No. 4106,
Records No. 04044.02 and 04044.01,
Stoertz C, RCHME unpublished survey (1992), 1992,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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