Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary in Low Wood, Langdale


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013303

Date first listed: 25-Mar-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary in Low Wood, Langdale
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 14:24:56.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Melsonby

National Grid Reference: NZ 19489 09620


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

Reasons for Designation

Scots Dyke is a linear earthwork extending for 14km from the River Swale to the River Tees in North Yorkshire. Significant sections remain visible as upstanding earthworks and indicate that the dyke system had an earthen rampart flanked on the eastern side by a ditch. Where not preserved as an upstanding monument, the dyke is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs and elswhere often survives as a low bank beneath present field boundaries. It was constructed in the post Roman period and encloses an area in the eastern foothills of the Pennines between the two rivers. This area contained wealthy arable and pastoral land as well as some of the mineral resources of the northern Pennines. Linear earthworks were used to divide territory for military, social, economic and political purposes, often using natural features such as rivers and watersheds to define an area. Scots Dyke was built to consolidate territorial and economic units in response to changing political circumstances during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. These were brought about, at least in part, by the arrival of the Anglians in northern England. Fewer than 50 examples of linear earthworks of post Roman date have been identified in England. As a rare monument type of considerable importance to the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all surviving examples are identified as being of national importance. This section of Scots Dyke survives well and significant archaeological remains will be preserved within and beneath the dyke.


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


The monument is a section of a linear boundary known as Scots Dyke lying to the west and south of Low Wood south of Langdale. It is situated on a crest which slopes gently to the north. The dyke includes a well preserved bank, flanking ditch and counter scarp bank, extending for 130m north to south, and which turns to extend 180m to the east where it terminates at a track at Stanwick Hall Reservoir. The bank varies from 5.5m to 12m wide and is up to 2.5m high, with the ditch being 4m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The counterscarp bank is up to 9m wide and up to 1.6m high. At the eastern end of the southern arm of the dyke, a trackway cuts though the residual banks and ditch. The ditch at this point is waterlogged and serves to drain into the adjacent reservoir. Two further tracks cross the western and southern arms of the dyke. At the northern end the continuing line of the dyke can be identified in field boundaries but has been much altered by agricultural activity and is not included in the scheduling. It continues as an earthwork 350m further to the north where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. At the east end the dyke has been truncated by the reservoir but it continues 250m to the south west where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. All modern fences gates and the concrete bridge are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features 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: 26947

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
McDonald, D A, Description and consideration of Scots Dyke, (1984)
Haselgrove, C, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North' in Indigenous settlement patterns in the Tyne-Tees lowlands, (1982)
Maclaughlan, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Roman Roads Camps and Earthworks in the North Riding, , Vol. VOL 6, (1849)

End of official listing