Warrening enclosure 1.3km north west of Givendale Head Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020678

Date first listed: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Warrening enclosure 1.3km north west of Givendale Head Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020678 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 14:01:40.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Thornton-le-Dale


National Grid Reference: SE 88086 87813, SE 88156 87781, SE 88256 87971


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

Reasons for Designation

A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries, which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals easier, whether using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds vary in design although rarely exceeding 0.7m in height. Earlier monuments such as burial mounds, boundary features and mottes were sometimes reused as breeding places. The mounds are usually surrounded by ditches and contain underlying channels or are situated on sloping ground to facilitate drainage. The interior of the mound may also contain nesting places constructed of stone slabs or cut into the underlying subsoil or bedrock. A typical warren may contain between one and forty pillow mounds or rabbit buries and occupy an area up to c.600ha. Many warrens were enclosed by a bank, hedge or wall intended to contain and protect the stock. Other features associated with the warren include vermin traps (usually a dead-fall mechanism within a small tunnel), and more rarely traps for the warren stock (known in Yorkshire as `types') which could contain the animals unharmed and allow for selective culling. Larger warrens might include living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the site, sometimes surrounded by an enclosed garden and outbuildings. Early warrens were mostly associated with the higher levels of society; however, they gradually spread in popularity so that by the 16th and 17th centuries they were a common feature on most manors and estates throughout the country. Warrens continued in use until fairly recent times, finally declining in the face of 19th and 20th century changes in agricultural practice, and the onset of myxomatosis. Warrens are found in all parts of England, the earliest examples lying in the southern part of the country. Approximately 1,000 - 2,000 examples are known nationally with concentrations in upland areas, on heathland and in coastal zones. The profits from a successfully managed warren could, however, be considerable and many areas in lowland England were set aside for warrens at the expense of agricultural land. Although relatively common, warrens are important for their associations with other classes of monument, including various forms of settlement, deer parks, field systems and fishponds. They may also provide evidence of the economy of both secular and ecclesiastical estates. All well preserved medieval examples are considered worthy of protection. A sample of well-preserved sites of later date will also merit protection.

Most traces of post-medieval warrening have been swept away by later land-use changes. Today those remains in Dalby and the adjacent forests are virtually all that are known to survive in north eastern England. Together with surviving farm warren features in Wykeham Forest, the farm and extensive warrens in Dalby form nationally rare survivals of the range of post-medieval warrening remains. The warrening enclosure 1.3km north west of Givendale Head Farm is thought to date from the early 19th century. Despite the destruction of the south eastern side of the warrening enclosure, the remaining parts of the enclosure retain features once commonly associated with rabbit warrening; notably the surviving enclosure bank and dry stone walling, two well-preserved rabbit types and a warrening storage building. This warrening enclosure is, therefore, a particularly rare and important survival. In addition, it will provide important information on the size, nature, management and development of 17th to 19th century warrens.


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


The monument includes an embanked warrening enclosure situated on undulating ground, in a mature conifer plantation towards the southern fringe of the Tabular Hills. The monument is divided by forestry tracks into three separate areas of protection, and includes surviving upstanding boundary banks surmounted with dry stone walling, a rabbit type or trap built into the bank of the north eastern side of the enclosure, a rabbit type located at the western angle of the enclosure and a warrening storage building constructed on to the outer face of the north western side of the enclosure. The warrening enclosure was originally sub-square in plan, measuring approximately 300m by 250m, orientated north west to south east. The widening of a forestry track has since destroyed the upstanding remains of the south eastern side of the enclosure, which is therefore not included in the protected area. The three remaining sides of the enclosure consist of a continous earthen bank 3m wide and up to 1m high, surmounted with dry stone walling up to 0.3m high, except where a forestry trackway has cut through the north eastern and south western sides of the enclosure, destroying 15m stretches of the bank and wall. A rabbit type is built into the inside of the north eastern bank of the enclosure and is identified as `Old Rabbit Type' on the 1913 Ordnance Survey map. The type consists of a sub-rectangular stone-lined pit, measuring 1.7 sq m and 0.5m deep, and is partially filled with stone rubble. A second type is located at the western angle of the enclosure. The type consists of a square stone-lined flared pit, measuring 0.75 sq m at its surface, 1.0 sq m at its bottom and 0.5m deep. The type is built into the north eastern corner of a rectangular stone mound, measuring 5m long, 4m wide and 0.3m high. Attached to the outer face of the north western side of the enclosure, approximately 100m from its northern corner, is what is thought to be a warrening storage building. The building, which is thought to have been used to store rabbit feed, tools and other warrening materials, measures 6 sq m, with walls 0.8m high and 0.6m thick. The inside of the building is obscured by rubble. This warrening enclosure is thought to date from the early 19th century and continued in use until the end of that century.

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: 34606

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Dalby Forest Survey, (1996)
Harris, A, Spratt, D A, 'Yorkshire Archaeological Journal' in The Rabbit Warrens of the Tabular Hills, North Yorkshire, (1991), 177-206

End of official listing