Length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018953

Date first listed: 27-Sep-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001


Ordnance survey map of Length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Leeds (Metropolitan Authority)

Parish: Barwick in Elmet and Scholes

National Grid Reference: SE 40811 38045


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

Reasons for Designation

The Aberford Dykes are substantial linear earthworks situated in North and West Yorkshire, east of Leeds. They lie north and south of Cock Beck with the modern village of Aberford at their approximate centre. They are visible as rock-cut ditches and banks. Most of the earthworks run approximately east-west. The ditch is on the south side of the bank and some parts of the earthworks have an additional counterscarp bank on the same side. The earthworks north of Cock Beck (including sections known as The Ridge, Becca Banks and the earthwork at Field Lane) mostly occupy commanding positions at the top of the scarp and may once have formed a single boundary. The earthworks south of Cock Beck include the South Dyke which occupies the top of the scarp above the beck and, crossing it, Woodhouse Moor Rein, running north east-south west along a low rounded ridge. The Aberford Dykes have been identified as defences of the British kingdom of Elmet against the Anglo-Saxons in the late sixth and early seventh centuries, or as boundaries to defend the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira against the Mercians in the seventh century AD. They have also been interpreted as dykes built to defend the territories of the Brigantes against the advance of the Roman Empire in the first century AD. There is no documentary evidence for the date of the Dykes, however, and firm archaeological dating evidence is sparse. They may not all belong to one period but relate to a number of different events. The style of construction has parallels in both the Roman and the early post-Roman periods. Excavation at Field Lane retrieved Roman period pottery from deposits associated with the silting up of the ditch. It is therefore likely that, here at least, the ditch was open during the Roman period. The size and extent of the Aberford Dykes imply a considerable expenditure of time and labour, suggesting a degree of social organisation at the time of their construction and a strong concern for territorial control, whether military, organisational or symbolic. All known lengths of the Aberford Dykes where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered to be nationally important.

The length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge survives reasonably well despite the reduction of the bank, ploughing and infilling of the ditch, and will preserve significant archaeological information relating to a number of different events in the Roman and post-Roman periods. The Ridge, together with Becca Banks, is of impressive stature and occupies a commanding position at the top of the Magnesian Limestone Scarp.


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


The monument includes a length of the earthworks known as The Ridge, which forms part of the Aberford Dykes. The Ridge lies north of Potterton Beck, approximately 560m east of Potterton Bridge. The visible remains include a scarp 3m high marking the line of the bank. This is partly natural but provides a commanding position for the bank, which has been reduced in height by ploughing. The ditch is visible to the south at the base of the scarp for part of its length. The visible section of ditch is approximately 3m deep, but is partially infilled, as observations made during the construction of a gas pipeline have shown that the ditch is substantial, and that a buried ground surface survives below the bank. The infilled ditch is thought to survive throughout the length of the monument. This section of The Ridge is well positioned to have repelled invasion from the south.

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: 31515

Legacy System: RSM


The Ridge, Yarwood B, The Ridge, (1976)

End of official listing