Northern section of the Danes' Dyke from Wold Farm field boundary to Bempton Cliffs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013194

Date first listed: 22-Aug-1922

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Northern section of the Danes' Dyke from Wold Farm field boundary to Bempton Cliffs
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Bempton

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Flamborough

National Grid Reference: TA 21309 72326


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.

The Danes' Dyke is extremely well preserved and remains a significant boundary in the modern landscape. It will retain important archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction and function, together with evidence of the contemporary climate and ecology of the locality and subsequent history of use.


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


The monument consists of the extreme northern section of the linear bank and ditch system known as the Danes' Dyke which, in its entirety, runs from the coast north of Flamborough Head south for a distance of two and a half miles, enclosing an area of approximately five square miles of headland. This section of the monument is situated on the coast by Dykes End, Bempton Cliffs and extends south to the eastward bend in the earthwork conforming to the field boundary aligned with Wold Farm.

The Danes' Dyke is thought to have been constructed in the Bronze Age along with other linear earthworks on the nearby Yorkshire Wolds. Its name, however, suggests a later date and it would seem likely that it was reused as a defensive earthwork both by Iron Age tribes and probably also at some point in the late ninth and tenth centuries AD. The dyke effectively cuts off the Flamborough peninsula, which is also naturally defended on all sides by steep chalk cliffs, converting it into a promontory fort. The area thus enclosed is large enough, and has sufficient resources, to support a sizeable community, with sources of fresh water available.

Continuing north from the eastward bend in the monument by Wold Farm, the earthwork runs in a straight line due north, first as a double bank with ditch alongside, then as a single high bank around 3m high and a steep ditch around 2m deep with a V shaped cross-section which terminates on the cliffs at Dykes End. The monument has three further breaches in the bank and ditch, thought to be of recent date to facilitate access or drainage.

Although the sections of the dyke system across the Flamborough peninsula abut each other, for purposes of clarity and administration, the sections have been defined as separate schedulings.

Modern post and wire fences dividing the monument from agricultural land bounding it to the east and the west are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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: 26509

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County of East Riding of Yorkshire, (1974), 151-152
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), p367
Ramm, H, 'RAI Summer Meeting Proceedings, 18/7/84' in Danes' Dyke, Flamborough (TA216694-213732), (1984), pp37-39
Bastow, M E, Ancient Monuments Record Form, AM107, (1987)
Information held by Humberside SMR, Various, (1994)
Pitt-Rivers, Major General, Papers of the British Association, (1881)
Scheduled Ancient Monuments Record, (1988)

End of official listing