Blackpark cross dyke and standing stone, 330m north east of Blackpark Lodge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018594

Date first listed: 21-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Blackpark cross dyke and standing stone, 330m north east of Blackpark Lodge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Cropton


National Grid Reference: SE 75290 91061, SE 75319 91034, SE 75341 91009


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.

Standing stones are prehistoric ritual or ceremonial monuments with dates ranging from the Late Neolithic to the end of the Bronze Age for the few excavated examples. They comprise of single or paired upright orthostatic slabs, ranging from under 1m to over 6m when still erect. They are often conspicuously sighted and close to other monument classes. They can be accompanied by various features: many occur in or on the edge of round barrows and, where excavated, associated sub-surface features have included stone cists, stone settings and various pits filled with earth containing human bone, cremations, flints and pottery. Similar deposits have been found in the excavated sockets for standing stones which range considerably in depth. Several standing stones also bear cup and ring marks. Standing stones have functioned as markers for route ways, territories, graves, or meeting points, but their accompanying features show that they also bore a ritual function. No national survey of standing stones has been undertaken, and estimates range from 50 to 250 extant examples, widely distributed throughout England but with concentrations in Cornwall, the North Yorkshire Moors, Cumbria, Derbyshire and the Cotswolds. Standing stones are important as nationally rare monuments, with a high longevity of use and demonstrate the diversity of ritual practices in the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. Consequently, all undisturbed standing stones and those that represent the main range of types and locations are considered to be of national importance. Blackpark cross dyke and standing stone provide valuable information about the local Bronze Age landscape. They will also include buried deposits of soil which will preserve information about the Bronze Age environment, including details about the local vegetation which, combined with data from other sites in the region, will provide an increased understanding of the prehistory of the Tabular Hills and North York Moors.


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


The monument, which is in three areas of protection, includes a prehistoric standing stone and the associated buried and earthwork remains of a cross dyke, a prehistoric boundary feature. The cross dyke survives as two short sections of earthwork either side of the metalled road to Spiers House. This road is well defined and cut through the cross dyke which is located on a slight rise. The cross dyke is orientated north west to south east and is formed by a bank and ditch with the ditch on the north eastern side. The bank is asymmetrical in profile with a steeper face on the side which merges with the profile of the ditch. The bank is 5m wide and up to 0.6m high with the ditch 3m wide and 0.4m deep. Thus in places the distance between the base of the ditch and bank top is up to 1m. The section on the west side of the road is 10m long and has been truncated at its north western end by modern forestry operations. The section on the east side of the road is longer, measuring 25m and is considered to retain its original south eastern end. Lying on the top of the north eastern side of the ditch, just to the west of the road, is a large stone 1m by 0.6m and at least 0.2m thick. This is of a similar stone to the standing stone that is located 30m beyond the south east end of the cross dyke. The standing stone is roughly a rectangular slab 1.1m wide, 0.4m thick with a height of 1.3m exposed above the ground surface. It is orientated so that the largest faces look due north and south. It is located directly in line with the top of the north east side of the ditch of the cross dyke and is considered to be part of the same prehistoric boundary feature. Two further stones lie in line with the cross dyke's ditch 120m to the south east of the standing stone. These stones measure 1.2m by 0.3m by 0.2m and 0.8m by 0.4m by 0.3m and lie several metres apart about 4m from the edge of Little Beck stream gully. These last two stones are considered to also have been part of the prehistoric linear boundary, but they are no longer in their original settings and thus are not included in the scheduling.

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: 30153

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 24

End of official listing