Ancient Monuments

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Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary in Low Wood, Langdale

A Scheduled Monument in Melsonby, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4818 / 54°28'54"N

Longitude: -1.701 / 1°42'3"W

OS Eastings: 419469.183583

OS Northings: 509643.57074

OS Grid: NZ194096

Mapcode National: GBR JJKM.J5

Mapcode Global: WHC60.VM51

Entry Name: Section of Scots Dyke linear boundary in Low Wood, Langdale

Scheduled Date: 25 March 1981

Last Amended: 8 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013303

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26947

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Melsonby

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Melsonby

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument is a section of a linear boundary known as Scots Dyke lying to
the west and south of Low Wood south of Langdale. It is situated on a crest
which slopes gently to the north. The dyke includes a well preserved bank,
flanking ditch and counter scarp bank, extending for 130m north to south, and
which turns to extend 180m to the east where it terminates at a track at
Stanwick Hall Reservoir. The bank varies from 5.5m to 12m wide and is up to
2.5m high, with the ditch being 4m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The counterscarp
bank is up to 9m wide and up to 1.6m high. At the eastern end of the southern
arm of the dyke, a trackway cuts though the residual banks and ditch. The
ditch at this point is waterlogged and serves to drain into the adjacent
reservoir. Two further tracks cross the western and southern arms of the dyke.
At the northern end the continuing line of the dyke can be identified in field
boundaries but has been much altered by agricultural activity and is not
included in the scheduling. It continues as an earthwork 350m further to the
north where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. At the east end the
dyke has been truncated by the reservoir but it continues 250m to the south
west where it is the subject of a separate scheduling. All modern fences gates
and the concrete bridge are excluded from the scheduling although the ground
beneath these features is included.

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

Scots Dyke is a linear earthwork extending for 14km from the River Swale to
the River Tees in North Yorkshire. Significant sections remain visible as
upstanding earthworks and indicate that the dyke system had an earthen
rampart flanked on the eastern side by a ditch. Where not preserved as an
upstanding monument, the dyke is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs
and elswhere often survives as a low bank beneath present field boundaries. It
was constructed in the post Roman period and encloses an area in the eastern
foothills of the Pennines between the two rivers. This area contained wealthy
arable and pastoral land as well as some of the mineral resources of the
northern Pennines. Linear earthworks were used to divide territory for
military, social, economic and political purposes, often using natural
features such as rivers and watersheds to define an area. Scots Dyke was built
to consolidate territorial and economic units in response to changing
political circumstances during the sixth and seventh centuries AD. These were
brought about, at least in part, by the arrival of the Anglians in northern
England. Fewer than 50 examples of linear earthworks of post Roman date have
been identified in England. As a rare monument type of considerable importance
to the study of early medieval territorial patterns, all surviving examples
are identified as being of national importance. This section of Scots Dyke
survives well and significant archaeological remains will be preserved within
and beneath the dyke.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
McDonald, D A, Description and consideration of Scots Dyke, (1984)
Haselgrove, C, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North' in Indigenous settlement patterns in the Tyne-Tees lowlands, (1982)
Maclaughlan, , 'Archaeological Journal' in Roman Roads Camps and Earthworks in the North Riding, , Vol. VOL 6, (1849)

Source: Historic England

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