Section of the Cleave Dyke system 45m east of the visitors' centre at Sutton Bank


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012745

Date first listed: 07-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Section of the Cleave Dyke system 45m east of the visitors' centre at Sutton Bank
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 03:17:19.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Cold Kirby


National Grid Reference: SE 51687 83090


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

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.

Excavations at the northern part of this section of the Cleave Dyke system revealed two pits, 1.5m across which appeared to have been filled in recently. These are thought to be part of a pit alignment, a feature common to many sections of the Cleave Dyke system. These served as a marker for the alignment of the dyke and may in places have substituted for the dyke itself and served as territorial markers. This section of the Cleave Dyke system is preserved beneath a modern embankment. Significant remains are preserved which will retain important information about the original form and function of the earthwork. As part of a major boundary system the monument offers important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a section of the Cleave Dyke system, a prehistoric linear boundary system on the Hambleton Hills. Orientated north to south, this section of the dyke extends for 245m, lying between a coniferous plantation and a modern road. The monument comprises a buried ditch, low bank and a pit alignment lying beneath a modern earth rampart. The line of the dyke is recorded as an earthwork on the OS map and the monument is known to have been an extant earthwork in 1976. The current upstanding earthwork is, in the most part, a relatively recent formation created during the construction of the car park and visitors' centre during the 1980's. Excavations undertaken in 1989 prior to the construction of the road revealed the presence of a ditch, recently infilled pits, and a low embankment following the line of the Cleave Dyke, preserved beneath the modern bank. Where revealed by excavation, the ditch is 2m wide and 0.5m deep. The full extent of flanking banks, where exposed by excavation, could not be determined but it is considered that these are up to 5m wide and 0.75m high. Excavations at the northern end revealed two pits, 1.5m across, which appear to have been filled in recently. This continues the alignment of the dyke system at this end of the monument. The monument terminates at both ends at modern roads. The dyke continues beyond both these roads in a plantation, in which it is preserved as an earthwork. This monument is part of a wider system of prehistoric linear earthworks continuing for 9km north-south along the western edge of the Hambleton Hills. Shorter east-west earthworks linked valley heads to the main dyke and thus divided 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 area of the Hambleton Hills provide important evidence of territorial organisation and the development of settled agricultural practices.

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: 26926

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
CDA, , Cleave Dyke System, (1876)
Vyner, B, Cleave Dyke at Sutton Bank Car Park, (1989)
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, (1982), 33-52
Spratt, D A , 'The Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, (1982), 33-52

End of official listing