Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke in Scarrish Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Coneysthorpe, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.1446 / 54°8'40"N

Longitude: -0.8933 / 0°53'35"W

OS Eastings: 472392.591078

OS Northings: 472647.430304

OS Grid: SE723726

Mapcode National: GBR QN6J.D1

Mapcode Global: WHFBF.73W1

Entry Name: Cross dyke in Scarrish Wood

Scheduled Date: 16 May 1963

Last Amended: 22 November 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013695

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28201

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Coneysthorpe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Barton-le-Street St Michael

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a double ditched cross dyke extending for 280m north
east to south west across Barton Heights ending at the edge of Coneysthorpe
Banks. The dyke has three parallel banks with intervening ditches. The banks
are up to 5m wide and 0.6m high. The eastern ditch is 7m wide and 0.9m deep
whilst the western ditch is 5m wide and 0.8m deep. At the south, the dyke ends
at a forest track but originally it continued further and joined an east to
west orientated earthwork extending along the edge of the escarpment, which is
the subject of a separate scheduling. To the north the dyke ends at open
fields but it originally extended further and connected with an extensive and
complex system of dykes and enclosures lying along the north facing slope of
the Vale of Pickering. These have been reduced by agricultural activity but
are still visible on aerial photographs. The dyke is part of a wider system of
boundaries which divide the terrain into discrete units for social and
agricultural purposes.

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

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.

This section of dyke is well preserved as an earthwork and significant
archaeological remains will be retained within the bank and ditches. The dyke
is part of a wider system of boundaries, enclosures and ritual sites. Similar
groupings of monuments are known elsewhere in the north east of England and
offer important scope for the study of the development and exploitation of the
landscape in different geographical areas during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A , 'Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology in North East Yorkshire' in Prehistoric and Roman Archaeology of North East Yorkshire, (1993), 92-120
McElvaney, M, Howardian Hills AONB Historic Environment Study, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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