Ancient Monuments

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Section of linear boundary dyke in Harper Dale Plantation north east of Northfield Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Huggate, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.0069 / 54°0'24"N

Longitude: -0.6382 / 0°38'17"W

OS Eastings: 489346.021862

OS Northings: 457624.587603

OS Grid: SE893576

Mapcode National: GBR RQZ3.MC

Mapcode Global: WHGD8.5KB2

Entry Name: Section of linear boundary dyke in Harper Dale Plantation north east of Northfield Farm

Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929

Last Amended: 18 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015568

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26583

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Huggate

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Huggate St Mary

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a 330m long section of Bronze Age single linear boundary
bank and ditch (also known as a dyke) in Harper Dale, 1km north east of
Northfield Farm, running along the southern side of the middle section of
Harper Dale, through the southern part of Harper Dale Plantation. Lying close
to an ancient trackway on the western side of the Wolds, the surviving part of
which forms the present-day Wolds Way, the monument forms part of a longer
system of linear bank and ditch running along the southern side of Harper Dale
towards Middleham Plantation, interlinking sections of which have now been
destroyed above ground level. It links to further sections of single and
double linear bank and ditch systems on the valley floor and the opposing,
southern side of Harper Dale, which runs back westwards into Horse Dale, and
eventaully towards the complexes much further to the west in Frendal Dale and
Tun Dale, north of Huggate Pasture. These dykes were used to enhance the
natural topographical barriers of spurs and ridges between valleys, with the
additional physical barriers of banks and ditches. Natural conduits along the
floors of the dry valleys were then `blocked' by other bank and ditch systems
to control access.
Well-preserved sections of these linear boundaries are the subject of separate
schedulings, and in some cases, adjacent monuments may physically touch.
This elaborate complex of boundary earthworks is one of the best preserved
remnants of the original more extensive systems recorded and mapped as
extending across large areas of the Wolds by early antiquarians such as J R
Mortimer in the 19th century.
Excavations and observation of spatial relationships with other earthworks of
known date demonstrate this Wolds complex of earthworks to have originated in
the later Bronze Age, with several subsequent phases of elaboration and
The monument also forms part of a broadly related and extensive complex of
multi-period prehistoric earthworks, including bowl barrows, barrow
cemeteries, linear bank and ditch systems, trackways and enclosures dispersed
across Huggate and Warter Wolds, and Huggate and Millington Pastures.
The south western end of the monument includes a 1.75m-2m high bank, lying
along the top edge of the southern side of Harper Dale, with a shallow, 2m-3m
wide `U' shaped ditch lying to its south. At this southern end, which is not
thought to be a natural terminus, the monument is very well-preserved, with
its imposing bank smoothly rounded and up to 6m wide at its base. It continues
further eastwards into a dense plantation of trees, becoming reduced to no
more than 0.5m in height, and its nearly infilled ditch is at times barely
visible, being no more than 0.3m-0.4m deep and 2m wide.
Modern post and wire fencing, animal feed and water dispensers and other
modern farm or game bird husbandry constructions and equipment are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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

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.

The monument is part of a very extensive and important system of linear
boundary dykes in this area of the Yorkshire Wolds, dating back to the Bronze
Age. It is survives well for most of its length, and is closely associated
with other adjacent complexes of linear banks and ditches, which together form
an integral system of boundary and defensive earthworks in this region. As
such it offers important insights into ancient land use and territorial
divisions for social, ritual and agricultural purposes in this area of the
Yorkshire Wolds.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Mortimer, J R , Forty Years Researches in British and Saxon Burial Mounds of East Yorkshire, (1905), 365-380
Dent, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in The Yorkshire Dykes, , Vol. 141, (1984), 32-33
Halkon, P, 'Prehistory Research Section Bulletin' in The Huggate Dykes, , Vol. 30, (1993), 10
Manby, T, 'Current Archaeology' in The Yorkshire Dykes, , Vol. 67, (1979), 233
Humberside SMR, Sites and Monuments Records Sheet, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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