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Latitude: 53.9725 / 53°58'21"N
Longitude: -0.7092 / 0°42'33"W
OS Eastings: 484762.154403
OS Northings: 453707.958112
OS Grid: SE847537
Mapcode National: GBR RQHH.7Q
Mapcode Global: WHGDF.2DJY
Entry Name: Section of linear boundary dyke on Cow Moor, Millington Dale
Scheduled Date: 17 December 1929
Last Amended: 18 April 1997
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1015571
English Heritage Legacy ID: 26586
County: East Riding of Yorkshire
Civil Parish: Warter
Traditional County: Yorkshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire
Church of England Parish: Millington St Margaret
Church of England Diocese: York
The monument includes a 1.6km long section of Bronze Age linear boundary bank
and ditch (also known as a dyke) running approximately north-south across Cow
Moor along the eastern side of Millington Dale.
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 is part
of a complex of linear banks and ditches running north from Warter Wold and
Millington Bottom through Millington Dale and up into Frendal Dale, crossing
east into Horse Dale and Harper Dale in the direction of Bottlands and
Middleham Plantation. The whole system is associated with other complexes of
linear bank and ditch systems further south along Cow Dale and Rabbit Dale,
north east of Huggate village.
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 acting to control access.
Well preserved sections of these linear boundaries are the subject of separate
schedulings, and in some cases, adjacent monuments may physically abut.
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.
From its southern end on the northern side of Sylvan Dale, which is thought to
be an original terminus, the bank climbs north steeply up the valley side onto
Cow Moor, where it continues heading due north, and then curving slightly
north east, keeping the line of Millington Dale, just along the break of
Throughout its 1.6km length, the bank is variable in height and degree of
preservation. In places, particularly along the southern half, it is worn
through with gaps and narrow causeways, probably the result of erosion by
stock through time. Where it is well preserved, it survives in places to
heights of between 1.5m and 1.75m, and is around 1m wide across its top and
between 3m-4m broad at the base. The ditch lies along the eastern side,
between the bank and the break in slope to the high ground, and is `U' shaped
in profile and an average of 2m wide. In other places both bank and ditch are
less well preserved, the bank surviving to heights of less than 1m, with the
ditch being nearly infilled and difficult to see.
Towards the northern end, the line of the monument converges with a farm
trackway which heads north along the line of the ditch and then swings down
into Nettle Dale. Another trackway leading from the road in Millington Dale
eastwards back into fields in Nettle Dale and has disrupted the line of the
bank and ditch in the floor of the valley.
The earthwork remains become visible again on the northern side of Nettle
Dale, along the western edge of Jessop's Plantation. It climbs north up the
steep side of the valley and continues northwards along the eastern side of
Millington Dale, along the break in slope, in the direction of Pasture Dale
and Huggate Sheep Walk. This section of the monument is well preserved again
and here the bank survives to heights of up to 2m in places, 1m wide at its
top and 4m-5m broad at its base, with a pronounced, 2m-3m wide `U' shaped
ditch lying to the east.
At its northern end the bank and ditch dip down into Huggate Sheep Walk, where
they are disrupted by the line of the modern road here, and disappear.
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 along with the surface of the adjacent road, although the
ground beneath all 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
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 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
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
Other nearby scheduled monuments