Northern section of prehistoric linear boundary with intersecting hollow ways, known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Northern section of prehistoric linear boundary with intersecting hollow ways, known as Rise Dikes, in Wykeham Forest
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
North Yorkshire
Scarborough (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 94169 86711, SE 94416 86930

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 Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as both round and square barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the round and square barrows in this area, and between both types of barrow and other prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire. Despite limited disturbance, the two earthwork sections of the Rise Dikes are in a good state of preservation. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date the boundary and determine contemporary land use will be preserved within the lowest ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will be preserved in the old ground surface beneath the banks. The ditch fills of the plough-levelled central section will also preserve valuable environmental evidence. The Rise Dikes belong to a network of prehistoric boundaries, dividing the area between Troutsdale in the west and the Derwent valley in the east. It is thought to represent a system of territorial land division which was constructed to augment natural divisions of the landscape by river valleys and watersheds and it is one of many such groups found on the Tabular Hills. Networks such as these offer important scope for the study of land use for social, ritual and agricultural purposes during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes part of a linear boundary which runs between Sawdon Dale and Bee Dale, towards the northern edge of the Tabular Hills. It is in two separate areas of protection. Also included are a series of parallel hollow ways which cross the boundary. The linear boundary runs between the top of the steep scarp slopes into Short Grain at the north east and into Wester Gill at the south west. It survives as an upstanding earthwork in two segments, between which buried remains also survive. The north eastern segment is 260m long. It has a ditch, up to 5m wide and 1.5m deep, which runs between two banks, each up to 3.5m wide and 0.6m high. The banks are constructed from earth and stone. There are two breaks in the boundary at the western end of this segment which have been caused by old tracks. The ditch has been recut in places as a drainage ditch. The south western segment is 40m long. It has a ditch, up to 4m wide and 0.5m deep, which runs between two banks. The northern bank is 4m wide and 0.6m high and the southern bank is 3m wide and 0.3m high. Originally, the south western segment would have had dimensions similar to those of the north eastern segment, but over the years the banks have been eroded and the ditch silted up by soil slipping down the scarp slope. At the eastern end of the south western segment an unsurfaced track crosses the line of the boundary. Between the two upstanding segments, the central part of the linear boundary has been ploughed level and the ditch filled in so that they are no longer visible as earthwork features. A series of up to four parallel hollow ways, which merge and run together in places, crosses the north eastern segment of the linear boundary and breaches the banks; to the north of the boundary the hollow ways run SSE to NNW for 175m and to the south they run north west to south east for 125m. The hollow ways are between 3m and 5m wide with a depth of up to 1.5m, and they cover an area which is up to 25m wide. They are interpreted as braided routes which are the predecessors of the present Moor Road. The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric linear boundaries which is surrounded by a dense concentration of other prehistoric monuments, including burials and settlement remains. Moor Road crosses the monument from north west to south east and divides it into two areas. Two surfaced trackways also cross the monument: one running north west to south east across the eastern end of the boundary and another, which is a public bridleway running ENE to WSW across the northern stretch of hollow ways. The surface of these trackways and the field boundary fences at the south west end of the north western segment and at the north west end of the south western segment are excluded from the scheduling; however, 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 54
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 54-59


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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