Ancient Monuments

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Section of linear boundary dyke 160m west of High Callis Wold Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Bishop Wilton, East Riding of Yorkshire

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Latitude: 53.9922 / 53°59'31"N

Longitude: -0.7361 / 0°44'10"W

OS Eastings: 482958.941945

OS Northings: 455865.401448

OS Grid: SE829558

Mapcode National: GBR RQ98.FN

Mapcode Global: WHFC2.NXND

Entry Name: Section of linear boundary dyke 160m west of High Callis Wold Farm

Scheduled Date: 9 September 1958

Last Amended: 8 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015609

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26591

County: East Riding of Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Bishop Wilton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Riding of Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Bishop Wilton St Edith

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a 1180m long section of Bronze Age linear boundary banks
and ditches (also known as dykes) on Callis Wold west of High Callis Wold
Farm. Also included is a 650m length of buried linear ditches, visible
as crop marks from the air.
The monument is a surviving component of an elaborate complex of boundary
dykes found scattered across the Yorkshire Wolds, single components of which
run either along the top of the escarpments, or part way down the sides of the
intervening dry valley systems. These dykes were used to enhance the natural
topographical barriers of spurs and escarpments between valleys, with
additional physical barriers of banks and ditches. Natural conduits along the
floors of dry valleys were then `blocked' by other bank and ditch systems
acting as a means of controlling access.
The elaborate complex of boundary earthworks located on Callis, Millington and
Huggate Wolds is one of the best preserved remnants of the original more
extensive systems recorded and mapped by early antiquarians such as J R
Mortimer in the 19th century.
Excavations and observations of spatial relationships between these and 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 augmentation.
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 Bishop Wilton, Callis, Millington, Huggate and Warter Wolds and Huggate
and Millington Pastures.
The monument includes two short sections of extant double bank and ditch,
adjoining one another in an original `T' shaped junction. To the north a
section c.150m long forms the top of the `T'. It runs on an alignment
approximately north east-south west. It includes a central ditch between 2m-
2.5m wide and up to 1.5m deep with parallel banks flanking it on either
side. The ditch profile varies between being `U' shaped, to occasionally being
almost `V' shaped in profile. The bank to the north is between 3m-4m wide at
its base and up to 1.5m broad across its top, and between 0.5m and 0.75m high;
a second bank to the south is rather lower and narrower, being between 2m-2.5m
wide and 0.5m high. There is a suggestion of a second, narrow, very shallow,
infilled ditch about a metre in width, running along the same alignment to
that of the first bank, to its north. The whole complex of banks and ditches
is 10m wide overall here. Its north eastern end is not interpreted as being an
original terminal, as aerial photographs indicate that the monument once
continued to the north east to link with other sections of linear earthwork on
Millington Lings. These sections of monument have been disturbed by
agricultural activity and they are not included in the scheduling.
The main north-south section of dyke adjoins the east-west dyke towards its
western end, and includes a 300m long section of double bank and ditches,
running north west-south east. Towards its northern end the central bank of
this dyke is up to 1.25m high, between 3m-4m wide at its base and around a
metre broad across the top. The bank is flanked by a ditch on either side,
which are of variable depth and width, being between 0.5m-1.25m in depth, up
to 2m wide across the top and 1.25m-1.5m broad across the base. They vary
between being shallow and `U' shaped, to `V' shaped in profile.
The line of the dyke curves out slightly to the east, north west of High
Callis Wold, and then back south west. Further south, the component banks and
ditches are more pronounced, with the ditches being up to 4m wide across the
top and the central bank between 0.7m and 1.25m in height, and 5m across its
base, and flat-topped.
There is a second, slightly lower bank on the western side of the western
ditch of this dyke system, also flattened across the top, up to 1.5m wide
across its base and about 0.5m high.
Overall, the entire system is between 9m and 10m wide at its southern end,
before it disappears as an earthwork feature, close to a field boundary hedge.
The line of this system is interrupted towards is southern end by a later
break of 3m, giving access through the banks and ditches.
The monument continues along the same alignment south east for 460m through
arable fields, where its ditches survive as buried features, visible as crop
marks from the air. A further short, 200m length of buried ditches adjoin the
lower end of this crop mark feature in a nearly perpendicular junction, to be
cut at its eastern end by a field boundary and the line of the modern paved
highway. This end of the monument is not interpreted as being an original
terminal, but will once have joined the section of linear dyke running north
east across Callis Wold towards Millington Lings, which now underlies, and has
been largely levelled by the modern paved highway. The road is not included in
the scheduling.
Modern post and wire fences and animal feed and water dispensers 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 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. Although the southern part of the monument only survives below ground
level, archaeological remains will survive in the buried ditches below
ground here. However, for part of its length the monument survives well as a
significant earthwork feature, and is a rare example of a complex of double
banks and ditches. It is closely associated with other 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

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