Cross dyke on Far Black Rigg, 1060m north west of Black Dale Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021101

Date first listed: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Far Black Rigg, 1060m north west of Black Dale Bridge
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 11:45:17.


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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Lockton


National Grid Reference: SE 84270 92022


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

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well- preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

Despite limited disturbance the cross dyke on Far Black Rigg 1060m north west of Black Dale Bridge has survived well. Important environmental evidence which can be used to date the cross dyke 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 cross dyke belongs to a network of prehistoric boundaries, dividing the area to the south of the scarp edge of the Tabular Hills, between Newton Dale in the west and Stain Dale 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.


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


The monument includes the surviving part of a cross dyke which is situated on the central plateau of the Tabular Hills. It occupies a prominent ridge-top position between Horcum Slack and Black Griff.

The surviving part of the cross dyke runs for 190m in an approximate north west to south east direction, bowing slightly to the north in the centre. The cross dyke has a ditch which is flanked by two parallel banks of earth and stone. The southern bank stands up to 0.8m high and the northern bank stands up to 0.5m high; in places the northern bank has been clipped by modern ploughing, particularly in the western half of the cross dyke. The ditch is up to 1m deep, measured from the tops of the banks, and the earthworks have an overall maximum width of 10m. Originally the cross dyke continued for a few metres at either end of the surviving earthworks, ending in the west at the top of the steepest part of the valley slope and in the east close to the southern terminal of the Horcum Dike, but the terminals have been destroyed by hollow ways and levelling for modern vehicle tracks and they are no longer visible. At the western end of the monument an old boundary line cuts diagonally across the cross dyke from the northern bank to the southern; an unmarked footpath along the northern side of this boundary line runs along the ditch of the cross dyke as a hollow way for the last 10m. The cross dyke has a modern breach across the centre which allows vehicle access between fields. The monument forms part of a network of prehistoric boundaries which is surrounded by many other prehistoric monuments, including burials and field systems.

All fence posts on the banks at the western end of the monument and along modern boundaries at either end of the monument, and the field boundary wall which runs to the south of the cross dyke 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.


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

Legacy System number: 35459

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 38-42

End of official listing