Prehistoric enclosure and trackway south of Wolsty Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013505

Date first listed: 28-May-1979

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Oct-1995


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric enclosure and trackway south of Wolsty Hall
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Feb-2019 at 11:24:57.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Holme Low

National Grid Reference: NY 10481 50859

Reasons for Designation

Prehistoric enclosures are plots of land usually enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth in upland areas, and banks of earth with an external ditch in lowland areas. Many date to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 500 BC) although earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circle settlements. The size and form of prehistoric enclosures may therefore vary considerably, depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity, and their relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. Prehistoric trackways are unmetalled routeways, of varying length, used as a means of access or communication. They survive in the form of a series of low earthworks, parallel crop/soil marks, hollow ways, modern footpaths and hedgerows. Occasionally there are parallel ditches or banks to either side. Trackways are dated almost entirely by association with the settlements they served. They were maintained solely by usage and had no rigid boundaries. When they ceased to be used they were incorporated into the surrounding landscape with varying degrees of rapidity and surviving examples are rare. Known examples which partly survive as earthworks are largely confined to marginal agricultural land which has been given over to pasture or meadowland over many centuries. In areas which have been more intensively farmed trackways are recognised principally as crop/soil marks on aerial photographs. Trackways provide important information on how the wider landscape was used. The prehistoric enclosure and trackway south of Wolsty Hall survives reasonably well despite the absence of any upstanding earthworks. Aerial photographs have identified below ground features such as the infilled boundary ditch of the enclosure, internal subdivisions within the enclosure, and infilled ditches flanking the trackway. The monument is one of a number of similar sites identified by aerial photography in the Solway Plain area in recent years and it will contribute to any further study of prehistoric settlement patterns in the area.


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure and associated trackway located on a low sandy ridge c.100m south of Wolsty Hall. The site is visible as crop marks on aerial photographs which highlight features such as infilled ditches. The aerial photograph shows a semicircular ditched enclosure measuring a maximum of approximately 90m north-south by 60m east-west and within the enclosure faint traces of sub-divisions. Also visible on the aerial photograph is an entrance on the enclosure's western side and a trackway with side ditches which issues from the entrance and runs in an WSW direction for approximately 160m. The ditches of this trackway are parallel apart from in the immediate vicinity of the enclosure where the northern ditch can be seen on the aerial photograph to be veering off in a north easterly direction. A post and wire fence on the monument's eastern side is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it 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: 27663

Legacy System: RSM


Ancient Monuments - Record Form, Fairclough, GJ, Iron Age Enclosure S of Wolsty Hall, (1977)
AP , Manchester University,
AP , Manchester University,
AP No. CCC 6053, 350 XPI 2403,13, Cumbria County Council, (1983)
AP No. CCC 6053,350 XPI 2403,13, Cumbria County Council, (1983)
AP No. RB 107,30, Bewler, R.H.,
AP No. RB 107,30, Bewley, RH,
FMW Report, Crow, J, Iron Age Enclosure S of Wolsty Hall, (1991)

End of official listing