Section of Cleave Dyke, 1.4km long from Sneck Yate Plantation to east edge of Town's Pasture Wood including two pit alignments and round barrow


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012746

Date first listed: 31-Jan-1997


Ordnance survey map of Section of Cleave Dyke, 1.4km long from Sneck Yate Plantation to east edge of Town's Pasture Wood including two pit alignments and round barrow
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 18:25:42.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Boltby


National Grid Reference: SE 50830 86510


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.

Pit alignments date from the late prehistoric period and are a form of boundary or territorial marker often found in association with other types of boundary feature. Pits will retain significant archaeological deposits and provide important information about the environmental conditions of the prehistoric period. Pit alignments are a feature common to many sections of the Cleave Dyke, serving as a marker for the alignment of the dyke and may, in places, have substituted for the dyke itself and served as territorial markers. Round barrows are Bronze Age funerary monuments containing one or more human burials and in this area of the North York Moors, are often found in prominent positions reflecting social and territorial functions. As such the distribution of some of these barrows is considered as a precursor to the Cleave Dyke system. Important information about original form, burials within and earlier land use beneath the mounds will be preserved. This monument contains an important association of linear boundary, pit alignments and an earlier round barrow. 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 and their development over time 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 on the Hambleton Hills. Orientated north-south, parallel to the scarp slope, the linear boundary extends for 1450m south from Sneck Yate Plantation and at the south end curves sharply west to meet the edge of the scarp. The monument is in part preserved as a slight ditch but in the other sections, where the earthwork has been levelled, the infilled ditch and the reduced banks can be traced on aerial photographs. In two sections there are infilled pit alignments, visible on aerial photographs, in place of the linear bank and ditch. At the northern end, the monument is preserved as a ditch measuring 3m wide with a wide bank to the east up to 7m wide and 0.5m high, extending for 40m south west through Sneck Yate Plantation. It is no longer visible as an earthwork in the field south of this, but the line of the buried ditch and reduced flanking banks are clearly visible on aerial photographs, and are confirmed by soil resistivity measurements taken in this area, indicating a ditch between 2m and 5m wide. This continues for 850m, gives way to an alignment of elongated pits extending for 100m to the south, then contines for a further 270m, before kinking sharply and curving to the west to terminate at the scarp slope. A further alignment of buried prehistoric pits lies adjacent to the dyke where it turns to the scarp edge. At the north the dyke continues beyond the road as a cropmark crossing the field. However to the south there is a gap of 600m in front of Boltby hillfort before the dyke again resumes as a cropmark; this is regarded as an original break in the dyke system, allowing access into the hillfort and its environs. Midway along the length of the monument and slightly to the east, lies a round barrow. This is greatly reduced by ploughing but is still visible as a low mound 14m in diameter and 0.25m high. This mound was surrounded by a ditch up to 3m wide which has been filled in over time and is no longer visible as an earthwork. This section of the dyke 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. The surface of the road 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: 26927

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
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
ANY 169/04, (1984)
ANY 65/5; ANY 63/3.7.8.; ANY65/4.5,
RAF 26D 33V, (1932)

End of official listing