Cross dyke in Scarrish Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013695

Date first listed: 16-May-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke in Scarrish Wood
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 17:50:46.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Barton-le-Street

National Grid Reference: SE 72391 72647


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

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 dyke is well preserved as an earthwork and significant archaeological remains will be retained within the bank and ditches. The dyke is part of a wider system of boundaries, enclosures and ritual sites. Similar groupings of monuments are known elsewhere in the north east of England and offer important scope for the study of the development and exploitation of the landscape in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a double ditched cross dyke extending for 280m north east to south west across Barton Heights ending at the edge of Coneysthorpe Banks. The dyke has three parallel banks with intervening ditches. The banks are up to 5m wide and 0.6m high. The eastern ditch is 7m wide and 0.9m deep whilst the western ditch is 5m wide and 0.8m deep. At the south, the dyke ends at a forest track but originally it continued further and joined an east to west orientated earthwork extending along the edge of the escarpment, which is the subject of a separate scheduling. To the north the dyke ends at open fields but it originally extended further and connected with an extensive and complex system of dykes and enclosures lying along the north facing slope of the Vale of Pickering. These have been reduced by agricultural activity but are still visible on aerial photographs. The dyke is part of a wider system of boundaries which divide the terrain into discrete units for social and agricultural purposes.

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: 28201

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 92-120
McElvaney, M, Howardian Hills AONB Historic Environment Study, (1994)

End of official listing