Two sections of the Cleave Dyke system, one known as the Casten Dike, and a round barrow south of Kilburn Moor Plantation


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012992

Date first listed: 16-Jul-1969

Date of most recent amendment: 03-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Two sections of the Cleave Dyke system, one known as the Casten Dike, and a round barrow south of Kilburn Moor Plantation
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Kilburn High and Low

County: North Yorkshire

District: Hambleton (District Authority)

Parish: Sutton-under-Whitestonecliffe

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Cold Kirby


National Grid Reference: SE 51882 82749


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.

These sections of the Cleave Dyke system are preserved as prominent earthworks for most of their length, forming a very clear division across the landscape. The section of Cleave Dyke continues the main spine of the dyke further south whilst the Casten Dike cutting across it towards Flassen Gill forms another, smaller division. Round barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and they provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. The round barrow included in the monument survives well, and significant information about the original form, burials placed within it and evidence of earlier land use beneath the mound will be preserved. It is known to have been constructed before the dyke, and in common with other similar round barrows on the Hambleton Hills, is thought to mark an early boundary. There are similar associations of barrows and linear earthworks in other parts of North Yorkshire. Such groupings of monuments offer 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 two sections of linear earthwork which cross at right angles at the south end of the Cleave Dyke system. A section forming the southern part of the main Cleave Dyke extends for 390m from north west to south east. It is crossed 240m along its length from the north by the Casten Dike, but it continues to the south east for a further 120m. This dyke is preserved as a shallow ditch with flanking banks. The ditch is 4m wide and 0.5m deep and the banks 3m wide and 0.75m high. Where the dyke is crossed by the Casten Dike it is no longer visible as an earthwork, although the ditch is preserved as a buried feature. The Casten Dike is orientated north east to south west, extending eastwards for 550m from the edge of the scarp slope. At its eastern end it has been truncated by a modern road. This dyke is preserved as a prominent ditch with a flanking bank to the north. The ditch is 3.5m wide and 1m deep, and the bank is 6m wide and 1m high. Flanking the ditch to the south, an old and ruined dry stone wall runs along a shallow counterscarp bank. A round barrow is located immediately adjacent to the Casten Dike at a point 140m from the south west end. This barrow has an earth and stone mound 1.5m high. It is round in shape and 12.5m in diameter. The ditch of the Casten Dike cuts across the northern flank of the barrow, demonstrating that the barrow is an earlier structure than the dyke. The Cleave Dyke and Casten Dike both continue beyond the road to the north and east respectively, where they are the subjects of separate schedulings.

These sections of earthwork are 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: 26933

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, 'Thae Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1990), 33-56
Spratt, D A, 'Thae Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1990), 33-56
Spratt, D A, 'Thae Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Cleave Dyke System, , Vol. VOL 54, (1990), 33-56

End of official listing