Section of cross ridge dyke and earthworks in Roman Plantation, Oulston Moor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Section of cross ridge dyke and earthworks in Roman Plantation, Oulston Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jul-2019 at 19:32:17.


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

North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SE 56392 74868

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well- preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

This section of cross dyke is preserved as a prominent earthwork forming a clear division across the landscape. Significant remains are preserved which will retain important information about the original form and function of the earthwork and offers important scope for the study of the division of land for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in the prehistoric period. Information on its relationship to the later deer trenches will also be preserved.


The monument includes a section of triple banked prehistoric cross ridge dyke extending for 120m north to south, crossed at its northern end by a series of later banks and ditches. The dyke has two parallel ditches with a central bank and flanking outer banks. The ditches of the dyke are between 4m and 5m wide and up to 2m deep. The central bank is up to 15m wide and outer banks 10m each in width. To the north the dyke is crossed by a series of banks and ditches orientated north west to south east. Extending for 200m these earthworks are interpreted as later deer trenches associated with medieval woodland management. The earthworks include three ditches with intermedial banks and a further outer bank to the north. The ditches are 2m wide and the banks 3.5m wide and 1m high. The dyke continued further to the north but the full extent of its survival has yet to be determined. To the south the dyke is truncated by the road but continues again 22m beyond this section where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. The stone wall crossing the dyke to the south 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:
Legacy System:


McElvaney, M, Howardian Hills AONB Historic Environment Study, (1994)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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