Section of linear boundary dyke in Harper Dale Plantation north east of Northfield Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015568

Date first listed: 17-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Section of linear boundary dyke in Harper Dale Plantation north east of Northfield Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: East Riding of Yorkshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Huggate

National Grid Reference: SE 89337 57614


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

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The monument is part of a very extensive and important system of linear boundary dykes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds, dating back to the Bronze Age. It is survives well for most of its length, and is closely associated with other adjacent complexes of linear banks and ditches, which together form an integral system of boundary and defensive earthworks in this region. As such it offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds.


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


The monument includes a 330m long section of Bronze Age single linear boundary bank and ditch (also known as a dyke) in Harper Dale, 1km north east of Northfield Farm, running along the southern side of the middle section of Harper Dale, through the southern part of Harper Dale Plantation. Lying close to an ancient trackway on the western side of the Wolds, the surviving part of which forms the present-day Wolds Way, the monument forms part of a longer system of linear bank and ditch running along the southern side of Harper Dale towards Middleham Plantation, interlinking sections of which have now been destroyed above ground level. It links to further sections of single and double linear bank and ditch systems on the valley floor and the opposing, southern side of Harper Dale, which runs back westwards into Horse Dale, and eventaully towards the complexes much further to the west in Frendal Dale and Tun Dale, north of Huggate Pasture. These dykes were used to enhance the natural topographical barriers of spurs and ridges between valleys, with the additional physical barriers of banks and ditches. Natural conduits along the floors of the dry valleys were then `blocked' by other bank and ditch systems to control access. Well-preserved sections of these linear boundaries are the subject of separate schedulings, and in some cases, adjacent monuments may physically touch. This elaborate complex of boundary earthworks is one of the best preserved remnants of the original more extensive systems recorded and mapped as extending across large areas of the Wolds by early antiquarians such as J R Mortimer in the 19th century. Excavations and observation of spatial relationships with other earthworks of known date demonstrate this Wolds complex of earthworks to have originated in the later Bronze Age, with several subsequent phases of elaboration and augmentation. The monument also forms part of a broadly related and extensive complex of multi-period prehistoric earthworks, including bowl barrows, barrow cemeteries, linear bank and ditch systems, trackways and enclosures dispersed across Huggate and Warter Wolds, and Huggate and Millington Pastures. The south western end of the monument includes a 1.75m-2m high bank, lying along the top edge of the southern side of Harper Dale, with a shallow, 2m-3m wide `U' shaped ditch lying to its south. At this southern end, which is not thought to be a natural terminus, the monument is very well-preserved, with its imposing bank smoothly rounded and up to 6m wide at its base. It continues further eastwards into a dense plantation of trees, becoming reduced to no more than 0.5m in height, and its nearly infilled ditch is at times barely visible, being no more than 0.3m-0.4m deep and 2m wide. Modern post and wire fencing, animal feed and water dispensers and other modern farm or game bird husbandry constructions and equipment 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: 26583

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 365-380
Dent, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Yorkshire Dykes, , Vol. 141, (1984), 32-33
Halkon, P, 'Prehistory Research Section Bulletin' in The Huggate Dykes, , Vol. 30, (1993), 10
Manby, T, 'Current Archaeology' in The Yorkshire Dykes, , Vol. 67, (1979), 233
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)

End of official listing