Hart Leap cross dyke on Glaisdale Rigg, 240m and 410m north of Highdale Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018772

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Hart Leap cross dyke on Glaisdale Rigg, 240m and 410m north of Highdale Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Glaisdale


National Grid Reference: NZ 73397 03629, NZ 73504 03474


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.

Hart Leap cross dyke is a relatively well preserved earthwork example of a Bronze Age boundary feature. The bank will overlie and preserve prehistoric soil layers and the ditch will contain a series of infilled sediments which will provide valuable information about the local environment in the Bronze Age. Its importance is enhanced by survival of a second cross dyke across the rigg, to the south west.


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


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric boundary, a cross dyke known as Hart Leap, which runs across the spine of the south western part of Glaisdale Rigg. It is in two areas of protection. A second cross dyke, which is the subject of a separate scheduling, lies to the south west. The cross dyke lies across the north eastern side of a saddle over the rigg. It is formed by a bank flanked on either side by ditches and runs in a broadly straight line south east to north west. It survives as two main sections either side of the road that runs along the spine of the rigg. The main part of the cross dyke lies on the south side of the road and starts with a pair of stones that are marked by the Ordnance Survey. The north western stone has been reused as a marker stone and roughly inscribed with the name Hart Leap. The cross dyke extends south eastwards from these stones as a low, broad and rounded bank approximately 9m wide, standing up to 0.5m above the flanking ditches which are each about 3m wide. Where the dyke runs past an area of shallow ironstone quarrying, the flanking ditches become fainter, but can still be traced as slight linear depressions. Just beyond a path marked by the Ordnance Survey, the dyke becomes more pronounced and bends slightly more southwards. The central bank becomes narrower and higher, standing up to 1.3m above the bases of the flanking ditches, 0.3m above the surrounding land surface. On the outside of the two ditches there are also a pair of 0.1m-0.2m high, 2m wide banks, with the whole dyke measuring 15m wide. The top of the central bank retains a couple of orthostatic wall stones, more of which survived in 1968 when the dyke was surveyed by R Hayes. The inscribed stone, the stone to its south east and a third stone which is adjacent to the area of quarrying, are all on the line of the top of the bank and are considered to be further remains of a wall of upright stones thought to have originally been part of the dyke. The south eastern end of the dyke quickly peters out just short of the drystone wall marking the edge of the unenclosed moorland. Slight depressions of the flanking ditches can be seen extending downhill beyond this wall, but these are not included in the scheduling. On the north side of the road there is a 55m long stretch of dyke which is similar in nature to the north western part of the dyke to the south of the road. The central bank is slightly narrower and with the flanking ditches, the whole dyke is typically 12m wide. Both ends of this section fade out. Beyond the end to the south east, the ground is disturbed by trackways and the modern road. To the north west there is an area of boggy ground which is the source of a small stream.

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: 30200

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Harding, A F, Ostoja-Zagorski, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in Prehistoric and Early Medieval Activity on Danby Rigg, N Yorks, , Vol. 151, (1994), 73-82
Vyner, B E, 'CBA Research Report 101: Moorland Monuments' in The Brides Of Place: Cross-Ridge Boundaries Reviewed, (1995), 16-30

End of official listing