A group of six shielings and tracks on Holwick Scars, 280m west of Hungry Hall


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019458

Date first listed: 24-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of A group of six shielings and tracks on Holwick Scars, 280m west of Hungry Hall
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Dec-2018 at 09:39:27.


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

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Holwick

National Grid Reference: NY 90884 26544


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

Reasons for Designation

Shielings are small seasonally occupied huts which were built to provide shelter for herdsmen who tended animals grazing summer pasture on upland or marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was moved in spring from lowland pasture around the permanently occupied farms to communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. Settlement patterns reflecting transhumance are known from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) onwards. However, the construction of herdsmen's huts in a form distinctive from the normal dwelling houses of farms, only appears from the early medieval period onwards (from AD 450), when the practice of transhumance is also known from documentary sources and, notably, place-name studies. Their construction appears to cease at the end of the 16th century. Shielings vary in size but are commonly small and may occur singly or in groups. They have a simple sub- rectangular or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling, although occasional turf-built structures are known, and the huts are sometimes surrounded by a ditch. Most examples have a single undivided interior but two roomed examples are known. Some examples have adjacent ancillary structures, such as pens, and may be associated with a midden. Some are also contained within a small ovoid enclosure. Shielings are reasonably common in the uplands but frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming practice here. Those examples which survive well and which help illustrate medieval land use in an area are considered to be nationally important.

This group of shielings survives well and together with the tracks leading to them they will add to the sum of knowledge relating to medieval land use in the North Pennines. They form part of a well-preserved medieval landscape in the Holwick area, which includes other shieling groups on the scar, medieval settlement and field systems.


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


The monument includes a group of six shielings on Holwick Scars, between Bedale Gill and Eel Beck, and tracks leading up from the enclosed land to the shielings. The shielings consists of the remains of six rectangular buildings of unmortared whinstone. The buildings range in size from 7m to 11m long by 4m to 5m wide. The walls are about 1m wide and vary from 0.3m to 2m in height. The tracks leading to the shielings consist of a single narrow track ascending the scar diagonally and branching as it approaches the shielings. This group of six shielings is very similar to the slightly larger group on Crossthwaite Scar, further east (SM 34352), and the group south of Hungry Hall (SM 34353). All these groups of buildings are interpreted as shielings.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34357

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing