Urra Moor prehistoric linear boundary on the western edge of Urra Moor


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


Ordnance survey map of Urra Moor prehistoric linear boundary on the western edge of Urra Moor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Hambleton (District Authority)
Bilsdale Midcable
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NZ 57520 00676, NZ 57739 02048

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.

Urra Moor dyke survives well as an earthwork and significant archaeological remains will be retained within the bank and ditch. The dyke is part of a wider system of prehistoric boundaries in the North York Moors which divided the landscape into large territorial blocks. The dyke thus offers important scope for the study of the development and exploitation of the landscape in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes two sections of a prehistoric linear boundary dyke on the western edge of Urra Moor overlooking Bilsdale. Orientated north-south, the monument extends for 4.4km along the eastern flank of Bilsdale. The dyke is divided into two sections by a gap 60m wide where a track and an old quarry have disturbed the monument. The dyke includes a single earth and stone bank lying to the east of a quarry ditch and separated from it by a narrow berm. The dyke varies in size along its length and in some places has been partly disturbed by small quarries and paths. The bank is up to 3.5m wide and 0.5m high, and in places the western face is revetted with stone. The flanking ditch is in places cut into the bedrock. The ditch is partly infilled and survives as a shallow earthwork up to 3m wide and 0.5m deep. At a point 100m north east of Weighill's Plantation the ditch curves westward away from the bank and stops at the top edge of a vertical crag. The ditch continues again as an earthwork flanking the bank 120m further to the south. Neither end of the dyke are thought to be original and the monument was probably larger. The scheduling only includes those sections confirmed to survive. All fences and walls crossing the monument 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, , Vol. BAR 104, (1990), 128-141


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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