Ancient Monuments

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Tor Dike linear earthwork

A Scheduled Monument in Kettlewell with Starbotton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1757 / 54°10'32"N

Longitude: -2.0276 / 2°1'39"W

OS Eastings: 398292.380797

OS Northings: 475546.690503

OS Grid: SD982755

Mapcode National: GBR GN84.TW

Mapcode Global: WHB68.T9MP

Entry Name: Tor Dike linear earthwork

Scheduled Date: 14 June 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012003

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24537

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Kettlewell with Starbotton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire


This substantial linear earthwork is situated across a valley head guarding
access into Coverdale from Upper Wharfedale. It stretches for a length of
approximately 2000m. The western section of the earthwork includes a ditch, 3m
deep and approximately 6m wide, cut into the base of a vertical limestone
scar. Above the ditch on the north side is an earth and stone rampart
averaging 1m high and 3m wide. Sections of the rampart include rough grooves
and pits where stone has been quarried to build the adjacent wall at some time
in the more recent past. Further west the limestone scar peters out and a
shallower and narrower ditch extends discernibly as far as Top Mere Gate.
Where the scar terminates on the east side the line is strengthened and
continued by a substantial rampart averaging 1.8m in height and approximately
4m wide. In places, both on the east and west sides of the monument, the
rampart is abutted by small enclosures and hut circles, with diameters of up
to 20m, of an Iron Age type, which are broadly contemporary in date. Other
enclosures built into the ditch at several points appear to be later.
The field wall running along the edge of the rampart and the surface of the
road crossing the monument are excluded from the scheduling although the
ground beneath them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or
multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between
less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features
visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The
evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that
their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although
they may have been re-used later.
The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were
constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries
in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of
their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious
associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those
groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance
for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This is a well preserved and substantial monument which will retain
significant archaeological evidence within its bank and ditch. Unusually it
has a series of broadly contemporary settlements and enclosures abutting it.
Information on the development of the earthwork and its relationship with the
adjacent settlement remains will be preserved.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Beresford, M W, Jones, G R J, Leeds and its Region, (1967), 98
White, R,

Source: Historic England

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