Ancient Monuments

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Castle Dykes Henge

A Scheduled Monument in Aysgarth, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2813 / 54°16'52"N

Longitude: -2.0287 / 2°1'43"W

OS Eastings: 398230.903203

OS Northings: 487290.2781

OS Grid: SD982872

Mapcode National: GBR GL8Y.L1

Mapcode Global: WHB5P.TN58

Entry Name: Castle Dykes Henge

Scheduled Date: 10 August 1923

Last Amended: 1 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008878

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24481

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Aysgarth

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


This very well preserved henge monument is prominently situated astride a
low east to west glacial ridge. The monument includes a roughly circular
enclosure defined by a well preserved bank and internal ditch. The maximum
diameter is 75m across the crest of the bank from east to west and 68m from
north to south. The earthwork survives to an average height of 2m from the
crest of the bank to the base of the ditch. The ditch, averaging 10.5m wide,
has been slightly infilled by weathering especially near the entrance which
has lessened the profile of the causeway. The only original entrance is that
on the eastern side; interruptions to the bank on the northern and southern
sides appear to be recent and are not matched by corresponding causeways
across the ditch. The eastern entrance is simple in form and rather narrow,
with the ditch causeway only about 2m wide.

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.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic
period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval-
shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a
ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the
interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features
including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or
central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide
important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types
of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in
which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the
exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally
situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are
rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of
identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all
henges are considered to be of national importance.

Castle Dykes is a very well preserved example of this relatively rare
monument type. It is reported that an excavation of the site by Canon Wylie
took place in 1908, no positive trace of this survives and the site appears
largely undisturbed. There is therefore potential for the survival of
environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was
constructed; particularly within the henge ditch which supports lush wetland
vegetation suggestive of underlying peat.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Allcroft, A H, Earthworks of England, (1908), 577-578
Allcroft, A H, Earthworks of England, (1908), 30
Turnbull, P, Castle Dykes Henge Monument, (1993)
Turnbull, P, Castle Dykes Henge Monument, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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