Dyke at the north eastern end of Stone Bridge Howl, 760m north west of Court House Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019339

Date first listed: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Dyke at the north eastern end of Stone Bridge Howl, 760m north west of Court House Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 11-Dec-2018 at 15:41:17.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Rievaulx


National Grid Reference: SE 59167 82360


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

Reasons for Designation

The Cleave Dyke system is the most westerly of a series of dyke systems on the Tabular Hills of north east Yorkshire. The name has been given to a series of linear ditches and banks stretching north-south over 9km parallel with and close to the western scarp of the Hambleton Hills. The system was constructed between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron Age to augment the natural division of the terrain by river valleys and watersheds. Significant stretches remain visible as upstanding earthworks; elsewhere it can be recognised as a cropmark on aerial photographs. The system formed a prehistoric territorial boundary in an area largely given over to pastoralism; the impressive scale of the earthworks displays the corporate prestige of their builders. In some instances the boundaries have remained in use to the present day. Linear boundaries are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the later prehistoric period; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The section of dyke at the north eastern end of Stone Bridge Howl, 760m north west of Court House Farm, is well preserved. Its importance is heightened by the survival of two further sections of the prehistoric boundary further to the south.


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


The monument includes earthwork and associated buried remains of an 85m long section of prehistoric boundary dyke which extends between the steep valley side of Rye Dale north eastwards to end at a sharp break of slope immediately above the bank of the River Rye. The monument is considered to be a continuation of Double Dikes which is a prehistoric dyke that extended from Stone Bridge Howl southwards for over 2km towards Ampleforth. Stone Bridge Howl is a steep sided natural gully and is thought to have acted as part of the boundary. Just to the north of where this gully enters the steep sided valley of the River Rye, the prehistoric boundary is continued as a complex linear bank and ditch which extends between the valley side and the break of slope immediately above the river. It is this section which forms the monument. Two further surviving sections of Double Dikes to the south west are the subject of separate schedulings. This whole boundary has been interpreted as the south easternmost component of a complex of dykes known as the Cleave Dyke system. This extends for about 8km along the top of the scarp of the Hambleton Hills between 400m south east of the top of Sutton Bank and Steeple Cross boundary stone on the north side of Dale Town Common. It has also been suggested that Double Dykes is associated with Studfold Ring which is an enclosure with a bank and internal ditch dated to the Iron Age which lies 1.8km to the south of the monument, 300m east of the southern end of the dyke close to Smith Hill Howl. Another possible association is with the three Bronze Age round barrows on Far Moor on the north side of Stone Bridge Howl. The section of the dyke which forms the monument survives as a double bank and central ditch which forms a boundary 13m wide that extends down slope north eastwards for 85m. This is further complicated as the ditch has a third bank which forms a low ridge running down its centre so that the boundary could also be described as a double ditch separating triple banks. The north western bank is the most pronounced and is about 3m wide and rises 0.4m with a steeper north western face. Its south eastern face runs directly down into the ditch with no evidence of a berm between bank and ditch. The ditch is typically 0.4m deep so that its base is 0.8m below the top of the north western bank. Overall the ditch is 7m wide and the low rounded bank that forms a ridge down its centre line is around 0.3m high and up to 3m wide. The ditch on the south east side of this bank is slightly shallower than on the north western side. The south eastern side of the boundary is formed by a low spread bank some 0.1m to 0.2m high and up to 3m wide. Again its north western side merges with the side of the ditch with no evidence of a separating berm. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 32686

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 3

End of official listing