Section of linear boundary dyke between Sylvan Dale and Warren Farm, north west of Coldwold Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016191

Date first listed: 17-Dec-1929

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Apr-1997


Ordnance survey map of Section of linear boundary dyke between Sylvan Dale and Warren Farm, north west of Coldwold 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: Warter

National Grid Reference: SE 84387 52279


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 survives moderately 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 an 870m long section of Bronze Age linear boundary bank and ditch (also known as a dyke) running approximately north east-south west from Sylvan Dale south of Cow Moor in the north to Warren Farm between Millington Bottom to the west and Cold Wold to the east. 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 is part of a complex of linear banks and ditches running north from Warter Wold and Millington Bottom through Millington Dale and up into Frendal Dale, crossing east into Horse Dale and Harper Dale in the direction of Bottlands and Middleham Plantation. The whole system is associated with other complexes of linear bank and ditch systems further south along Cow Dale and Rabbit Dale, north east of Huggate village. 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 acting 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. From its southern end by Warren Farm, which is not thought to be an original terminus, the monument runs across upland, and in this respect differs from other related sections of dykes in this area, in that it is not located along the brow of a valley, augmenting the break of slope as is a common feature of these systems. The bank is moderately well preserved and between 1m and 1.5m in height and around 4m in width for much of its length. The ditch, which has become infilled through time, lies to the western side of the bank, and is overlain by a public footpath. At the northern end of the monument the bank divides into two short parallel sections of about 150m in length, with an intervening ditch, as it plunges down the southern side of Sylvan Dale into the valley bottom, where it is thought to end in an original terminus. The banks are both very well preserved for this last section, with heights of around 1.5m-1.75m, and 4m wide at the base of each. The intervening ditch is around 3m wide at the top end of the slope, but the banks converge slightly as they proceed down the slope, and hence the intervening ditch becomes narrower at the bottom, until the whole system meets the valley floor. Modern post and wire fencing, animal feed and water dispensers and other modern farm constructions and equipment are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 26587

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