Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Pit alignment and three round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 500m north east of Wood Hill House

A Scheduled Monument in Ugthorpe, North Yorkshire

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 54.4786 / 54°28'42"N

Longitude: -0.7956 / 0°47'44"W

OS Eastings: 478134.939691

OS Northings: 509915.304004

OS Grid: NZ781099

Mapcode National: GBR QJWN.KB

Mapcode Global: WHF8Q.RPBH

Entry Name: Pit alignment and three round barrows on Ugthorpe Moor, 500m north east of Wood Hill House

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016533

English Heritage Legacy ID: 32487

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Ugthorpe

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Ugthorpe Christ Church

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes a pit alignment and three round barrows situated at the
top of a south west facing slope towards the north edge of the North York
The pit alignment is of the type known as a segmented embanked pit alignment.
It has two pairs of well defined sub oval pits 3m-4m in diameter and up to
0.6m deep, which lie between parallel banks 16m apart. The banks are up to 3m
wide and stand up to 0.8m high. They run for 20m in a south east to north west
direction and the ends of each bank curve slightly inwards. To the south and
north west of the pit alignment a number of small cairns have been identified
from field survey work.
The pit alignment is off centre from two round barrows, one 18m to the south
east and the other 55m to the north west. The southern barrow has an earthen
mound up to 20m in diameter and standing up to 1m high. The northern barrow
has an earth and stone mound up to 9m in diameter and standing up to 0.6m
high. In the centre of both mounds there is a hollow caused by excavations in
the past. A third round barrow lies 10m to the south of the pit alignment. It
has an earth and stone mound which measures 7m in diameter and stands up to
0.2m high.
The pit alignment and barrows lie in an area where there are many other ritual
and funerary monuments dating to the prehistoric period.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most
examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple
burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often
acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar,
although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form
and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early
prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period
and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

A pit alignment is a linear arrangement of fairly closely spaced circular or
rectangular holes or pits over 1m in diameter. Some examples are several
kilometres long and some occur as part of a more complex linear earthwork
including linear ditches, slots, palisades and linear banks. Once dug, the
pits were left as open features which eroded and silted up over a period of
time. Nearly all pit alignments have been discovered from aerial photography
and survive as cropmarks or soil marks. They are largely found in river
valleys in central and northern England but they are also common on the
Yorkshire Wolds and are found in smaller numbers on other light freely
draining soils. Pit alignments probably formed boundaries. Where excavated
they usually appear to be prehistoric in date, although examples are also
known from the Roman period. All examples surviving as earthworks are
considered to merit protection.
In the north east part of the North York Moors a distinctive type of pit
alignment has been recognised and termed a segmented embanked pit alignment
(SEPA). These survive as inconspicuous low earthworks which consist of two or
three pairs of pits lying between parallel banks. In some cases several SEPAs
are conjoined to give the appearance of a more extensive linear earthwork. The
axis of the SEPAs is consistently orientated north west to south east and is
often tangential to more prominent Bronze Age round barrows. None of the SEPAs
have been excavated to modern standards but they are interpreted as ritual
monuments which may have had some function as a boundary. The exact nature of
the rituals concerned is not fully understood but their association with round
barrows is taken to indicate a link with funerary activities. All known
examples of SEPAs are considered to be of national importance because of their
highly localised occurrence, distinctive form and survival as earthworks.
The SEPA 500m north east of Wood Hill House is in an excellent state of
preservation. The archaeological deposits survive intact and significant
information about the original form of the monument and the rituals associated
with its use will be preserved. Important environmental evidence will survive
within the waterlogged pit fills and evidence for earlier land use will
survive beneath the banks. The importance of the three barrows is enhanced by
their association with the SEPA. Despite disturbance, evidence for the date
and form of the barrows and the burials placed within them will be preserved
and evidence for earlier land use will survive beneath the barrow mounds.
The barrows were originally in a group of at least ten burial monuments, of
which there are seven surviving. Such clusters provide important insight into
the development of ritual and funerary practice during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lofthouse, C A, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Segmented Embanked Pit Alignments in the North York Moors, , Vol. 59, (1993), 383-392

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.