Ancient Monuments

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Fall Rigg cross dyke and round barrow, 710m north of Sycamore Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Cropton, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.3015 / 54°18'5"N

Longitude: -0.8363 / 0°50'10"W

OS Eastings: 475825.547687

OS Northings: 490171.437246

OS Grid: SE758901

Mapcode National: GBR QLLP.RS

Mapcode Global: WHF9P.441Q

Entry Name: Fall Rigg cross dyke and round barrow, 710m north of Sycamore Farm

Scheduled Date: 18 June 1973

Last Amended: 2 December 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018599

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30151

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Cropton

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Cropton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric
boundary, known as a cross dyke, together with a prehistoric burial mound. The
dyke crosses a low ridge which runs parallel to and at the foot of the main
northern scarp of the Tabular Hills. The burial mound is a small round barrow
which lies to 14m to the west of the centre of the dyke. Further barrows have
been reported along the ridge to the east of the dyke.
The cross dyke is formed by a 5m wide bank standing up to 1m above the base of
the immediately adjacent 3m wide ditch. This ditch lies on the east side of
the bank and is up to 0.5m deep. The dyke runs north-south over the ridge of
Fall Rigg, with its southern end lying at a break of slope just above the base
of a normally dry valley uphill from Lady Keld Spring. The dyke's northern end
is just short of the south side of the deeply incised gully for Sutherland
Beck. Both ends are quite well defined. The dyke nearly forms a straight line
north to south, but its centre is slightly kinked westwards so that it is
formed by two straight sections that meet at the highest point of the ridge.
The point at which the northern and southern sections of the dyke meet is
marked by a narrow causeway through the dyke, which is considered to be an
original feature, and lies opposite the adjacent round barrow to the west.
This round barrow survives as a 10m diameter mound standing 1.5m high with a
small central depression. There are two further breaks in the dyke at its
north end and one through the southern half of the dyke.

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.

Fall Rigg cross dyke is a well preserved earthwork example of a Bronze Age
boundary feature. The bank will overlie and preserve prehistoric soil layers
and the ditch will contain a series of infilled sediments which will provide
valuable information about the local environment in the Bronze Age. Its
importance is enhanced by the adjacent round barrow. Such barrows functioned
primarily as burial mounds, but also acted as boundary markers, sometimes to
be replaced by linear earthworks such as Fall Rigg cross dyke. Round barrows
are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic 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, covering single or multiple
burials. They occur in isolation or grouped into cemeteries and often acted as
a focus for later burials. Often superficially similar, although differing
widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and burial practices.
Often occupying prominent positions, their variation in form and longevity as
a monument type provide important information about the diversity of beliefs
and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
the surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Spratt, D A, Linear Earthworks of the Tabular Hills: North East Yorkshire, (1989), 24

Source: Historic England

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