Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m north of Langdale


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013306

Date first listed: 18-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary 250m north of Langdale
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Aldbrough

County: North Yorkshire

District: Richmondshire (District Authority)

Parish: Melsonby

National Grid Reference: NZ 19498 10147

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 retained which offer important information about the development of the landscape in the post Roman period.


The monument is a section of the linear earthwork known as Scots Dyke situated on level ground, to the north of Langdale. The dyke includes a bank and flanking ditch extending for 100m north to south. The bank varies from 3.5m to 5.5m wide and is up to 1m high, with the ditch lying to the east being 1.5m wide and up to 1.5m deep. At the southern terminus the line of the dyke continuing to the south can be identified in field boundaries but has been much altered by agricultural activity and is not included in the scheduling. However 400m to the south the dyke continues as an earthwork where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. At the north end the dyke has been truncated by a large field drain and a trackway but continues again as an earthwork 20m to the north where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. All fences and gates are 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: 26954

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
McDonald, , A Description and Consideration of Scots Dyke in North Yorkshire, (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