Section of the Cleave Dyke system near High Barn


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Section of the Cleave Dyke system near High Barn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Sep-2019 at 11:28:27.


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

North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 50713 86665

Reasons for Designation

The Cleave Dyke System is the most westerly of a series of dyke systems on the Tabular Hills of north east Yorkshire. The name has been given to a series of linear ditches and banks stretching north-south over 9km parallel with and close to the western scarp of the Hambleton Hills. The system was constructed between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age to augment the natural division of the terrain by river valleys and watersheds. Significant stretches remain visible as upstanding earthworks; elsewhere it can be recognised as a cropmark on aerial photographs. The system formed a prehistoric territorial boundary in an area largely given over to pastoralism; the impressive scale of the earthworks displays the corporate prestige of their builders. In some instances the boundaries have remained in use to the present day. Linear boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This section of the Cleave Dyke system lies parallel to the main dyke and encloses an area defined to the west by the scarp edge. The monument survives partly as an earthwork and where levelled, the ditch and remains of the bank will be preserved as buried features. The dyke is associated with a group of Bronze Age round barrows. These are funerary monuments with a ritual and social function which also served as territorial markers. Preservation of significant archaeological remains offer important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes a section of the prehistoric linear boundary system on the Hambleton Hills, known as the Cleave Dyke. The monument extends for c.520m north to south parallel to the west edge of Hambleton Down, curving at the ends to emerge at the scarp face as a well defined earthwork. The northern arm of the monument comprises a bank with a flanking ditch lying to the south. It extends for 90m south east from the scarp face. The monument then turns and continues southwards for 380m. This stretch has been reduced by agricultural activity and is no longer visible as an earthwork although significant remains of the bank and ditch up to 7m wide are visible on aerial photographs. The monument turns to extend westwards for 50m and for the last 25m of this part it is preserved as an upstanding bank with a flanking ditch to the south. Where preserved as an earthwork the bank is 3.5m wide and 0.5m high and the ditch is 3.5m wide and 0.6m deep. This dyke is part of a wider system of earthworks continuing for 9km north- south along the western edge of the Hambleton Hills, dividing the terrain into discrete units for agricultural and social purposes. The dyke is associated with earlier round barrows which also marked the division of land. Together the monuments on this part of the Hambleton Hills provide important evidence of territorial organisation and the development of settled agricultural practices. There is a stone wall crossing the monument which is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath 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
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1982), 33-52
Spratt, D A, 'The Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1992), 33-52


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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