Cross dyke centred 480m south of Fox and Rabbit Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021170

Date first listed: 09-Nov-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-2003


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke centred 480m south of Fox and Rabbit Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Lockton

County: North Yorkshire

District: Ryedale (District Authority)

Parish: Thornton-le-Dale


National Grid Reference: SE 83878 87887, SE 84385 87750, SE 84928 87641


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.

Prehistoric rock art is found on natural rock outcrops in many areas of upland Britain. It is especially common in the north of England in Northumberland, Durham and North and West Yorkshire. The most common form of decoration is the `cup and ring' marking, where expanses of small cup-like hollows are pecked into the surface of the rock. These cups may be surrounded by one or more `rings'. Single pecked lines extending from the cup through the rings may also exist, providing the design with a `tail'. Pecked lines or grooves can also exist in isolation from cup and ring decoration. Other shapes and patterns also occur, but are less frequent. Carvings may occur singly, in small groups, or may cover extensive areas of rock surface. They date to the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (2800-c.500 BC) and provide one of our most important insights into prehistoric `art'. The exact meaning of the designs remains unknown, but they may be interpreted as sacred or religious symbols. Frequently they are found close to contemporary burial monuments and the symbols are also found on portable stones placed directly next to burials or incorporated into burial mounds. Around 800 examples of prehistoric rock art have been recorded in England. This is unlikely to be a realistic reflection of the number carved in prehistory. Many will have been overgrown or destroyed in activities such as quarrying.

Despite limited disturbance the cross dyke centred 480m south of Fox and Rabbit Farm 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.

Lime kilns are structures which were built in order to produce lime by burning chalk or limestone with a fuel, such as wood, peat or coal. The earliest lime kilns are Roman in date, but most surviving examples which have been identified are 18th or 19th century and date from a time when agricultural intensification generated the need for large quantities of lime for spreading on cultivated fields. Clamp kilns are generally found in rural locations where they were constructed for single or intermittant use and had no permanent superstructure. The kiln was formed of an excavated bowl or pit, within which was placed a base of kindling and a mound of alternating layers of limestone and fuel. The sides may have been built up slightly with earth and/or rough stone walling, and the load was covered with sods of earth. A flue was incorporated into the base of the mound and when ready, the whole mass was set alight and left to burn itself out over a period of days. The kiln was then dismantled and the lime removed.

These lime kilns are important because they have been constructed within the banks of a cross dyke, and this demonstrates the diversity of form which it is thought rural clamp kilns had.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a cross dyke which is situated on the southern slopes of the Tabular Hills. It occupies a prominent position running across the ridge between Newton Dale in the west and Thornton Dale in the east. Also included is a cup-marked stone which is incorporated into the cross dyke, two lime kilns which are constructed within the cross dyke and a segment of a post-medieval boundary which adjoins the eastern end of the cross dyke. The monument is divided into three areas of protection by the A169 and the Whitby to Thornton Dale road, which cross it from north east to south west and from north to south respectively.

The cross dyke runs for about 1.68km in an approximate east to west direction, turning to the north west for the last 200m at the western end before terminating at the top of the steep slope into Cross Dale, a tributary valley of Newton Dale. At its eastern end the cross dyke ends at the top of the steepest part of the slope into Thornton Dale. The cross dyke has a ditch which is flanked by two parallel banks constructed of earth and stone and the earthworks have an overall maximum width of 13m. The ditch is 1.5m-2m deep, measured from the tops of the banks, but where it crosses the highest part of the ridge towards the western end it is reduced to 1m. For most of their length the banks stand 0.5m-0.8m high, although in places, particularly in the western section, the northern bank has been partly levelled or reduced by ploughing and is no more than 0.3m high. In the penultimate field at the western end and at the eastern end of the eastern section the cross dyke has largely been levelled by ploughing and is not visible as an earthwork. Part of the south western bank and the northern bank, however, survive at the western end and at the eastern end respectively where they are used as modern field boundaries. In both these places, the ditch will survive as a sub-soil feature. A cup-marked stone was recorded in 1982, incorporated into one of the banks towards the western end of the cross dyke but since that time it has become buried with soil and vegetation and is no longer visible.

The cross dyke has been disturbed by post-medieval limestone quarrying on the west side of the A169, where the earthworks have been breached for 10m, and in the eastern part of the central section, where the northern bank and the northern part of the ditch have been quarried for a 50m length. There are also three modern breaches caused by field access, two in the central section and one in the eastern section, and a further modern disturbance breaching the dyke at the western end of the eastern section.

The two lime kilns are situated within the post-medieval quarries in the western and central sections of the cross dyke. They were constructed in the 18th or 19th century and are of a type known as a clamp kiln. The western lime kiln is visible as a horseshoe-shaped mound of earth and stone rubble which incorporates the northern bank of the cross dyke as its southern side. The mound measures 8m across and stands up to 2m high. It opens to the west onto the breach through the cross dyke and has a hollow in the centre which is now distorted by the roots of a mature tree. The lime kiln in the central section of the cross dyke is also constructed within the northern bank. It is visible as a steep-sided oval-shaped hollow, which is open to the south and surrounded to the north, east and west by a mound standing up to 1.2m high. The mound measures 12m across from east to west and has fragments of burnt stonework visible in the centre of the northern face. The hollow is about 2.5m deep, measured from the top of the mound.

The post-medieval boundary segment runs from north to south and is 80m long; the southern end of the segment is at the southern terminal of the boundary. It has a bank of earth and stone with a ditch on its western side which together measure 5m in width. The segment adjoins the eastern end of the cross dyke; the northern edge of the cross dyke forms the southern terminal of the ditch and the bank continues for 3m to the south across the end of the northern bank of the cross dyke, projecting for 2m beyond the eastern terminal of the cross dyke. The boundary to which this segment belongs continues to the north beyond this monument and it marks the division between the modern parishes of Lockton and Thornton Dale.

All fence posts along modern boundaries and the ruined boundary walls crossing and running along the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all 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: 35902

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 29
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 29-32
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 29-30
Rutter, J G, 'Transactions of the Scarborough and District Archaeological Soc' in A Survey Of Linear Earthworks And Associated Enclosures In NE, , Vol. 3, (1974), 17-18
Title: 1st Edition 6" Ordnance Survey sheet 75 Source Date: 1854 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing