Linear earthwork at Harker Mires


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012617

Date first listed: 30-Jun-1995


Ordnance survey map of Linear earthwork at Harker Mires
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Grinton


National Grid Reference: SE 03863 97427


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This is an extremely well preserved and substantial monument, which is likely also to include extensive, environmentally important deposits within its ditch.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The linear earthwork extends along the crest of a slight WNW to ESE orientated ridge above Grinton Gill on Harkerside Moor. It is some 356m in length, the eastern edge being on the top of the natural ravine of Grinton Gill, the western end stopping abruptly east of Harker Mires. It includes a substantial rampart, ditched on its south side and with a slight counterscarp bank, barely discernible in places, on the south side of the ditch. The ditch has a maximum depth of 2m and a maximum width of 7m. The rampart reaches a maximum height of 1.5m above ground level, and a maximum width of 8m. Both the rampart and the counterscarp are heather covered with the base of the ditch largely filled with reeds and other water tolerant plants, due to water logging at certain times of the year. Quantities of loose stone from the rampart have fallen down into the base of the ditch particularly at the eastern extent of the monument. The earthwork has been bisected centrally by the intersection of a trackway and footpath. Here the ditch has been filled in and a section of the rampart approximately 5m wide has been carved out and a wider section, up to 12m wide, of the counterscarp has been demolished. Here also the stream emerges from the surrounding marshes and flows via the ditch into the steep sided ravine. The earthworks are part of a broader group of probable territorial boundaries known as the Grinton-Fremington Dyke system. This includes valley bottom earthworks as well as those in upland locations. The modern fence crossing the monument is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it 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: 24546

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Laurie, T C, 'British Archaeological Reports British Series' in Early Land Division and Settlement in Swaledale, , Vol. 143, (1985), 135-162

End of official listing