Regular aggregate field system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Regular aggregate field system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm
© 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)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SE 91725 88791

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

Although some of the earthwork boundaries are not visible, the field system on Troutsdale Moor, 950m south west of Rock House Farm, is in a good state of preservation. Significant information about the form and development of the field layout will survive. Valuable evidence for the type of agriculture practised and the contemporary environment and economy will survive in the lower ditch fills. Evidence for earlier land use will also survive beneath the field banks. The field system is embedded in peat deposits with some areas which are waterlogged and so it will contain a wider range of environmental evidence than can be found on drier sites.

The field system is among only a very few such monuments on the eastern Tabular Hills to survive with upstanding earthworks and it will, therefore, preserve a range of evidence which the many plough-flattened examples have now lost. It lies close to another field system and a number of prehistoric burial monuments. Associated groups of monuments such as these offer important scope for the study of the distribution of human activity across the landscape during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes a regular aggregate field system which is situated on level ground at the top of a steep slope overlooking Troutsdale. It lies on the central plateau of the Tabular Hills.

The field system is visible as a series of small sub-rectangular enclosures, which are laid out roughly on two perpendicular axes, oriented approximately north west to south east and north east to south west. At least ten fields have been identified and these measure 30m-75m in length and 20m-40m in width. The fields are defined by shallow ditches and low earthen banks. The ditches are up to 1m wide and 0.5m deep and the banks are up to 2m wide and 0.5m high, although many are much smaller than this. The northern side of the field system is overlain by elements of a post-medieval boundary system which appears on early editions of the Ordnance Survey maps. This includes the south eastern side of an embanked enclosure at the north western edge of the field system and along the north eastern edge of the field system, a boundary bank which has fragments of tumbled walling surviving at its extreme south eastern end, where there is also a post-medieval boundary stone set into an adjacent ditch. On the south western side of the field system there is a pond. Over the years, the field system has become embedded in peat deposits which have developed on the surface of the moor and this has resulted in the earthworks being poorly defined in places and difficult to distinguish amongst the vegetation, although they are clearly visible on aerial photographs.

The field system lies close to another similar field system, the subject of a separate scheduling, in an area which also includes many prehistoric burial monuments as well as further remains of prehistoric land division.

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:
Legacy System:


Meridian vertical AP. Run 70 110/72 089-092, (1972)


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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