Ancient Monuments

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Hart Leap cross dyke on Glaisdale Rigg, 240m and 410m north of Highdale Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Glaisdale, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.4215 / 54°25'17"N

Longitude: -0.8689 / 0°52'8"W

OS Eastings: 473490.008932

OS Northings: 503488.840316

OS Grid: NZ734034

Mapcode National: GBR QKC9.PS

Mapcode Global: WHF92.M4G6

Entry Name: Hart Leap cross dyke on Glaisdale Rigg, 240m and 410m north of Highdale Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 February 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018772

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30200

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Glaisdale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Glaisdale St Thomas

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes the buried and earthwork remains of a prehistoric
boundary, a cross dyke known as Hart Leap, which runs across the spine of the
south western part of Glaisdale Rigg. It is in two areas of protection. A
second cross dyke, which is the subject of a separate scheduling, lies to the
south west. The cross dyke lies across the north eastern side of a saddle over
the rigg. It is formed by a bank flanked on either side by ditches and runs in
a broadly straight line south east to north west. It survives as two main
sections either side of the road that runs along the spine of the rigg. The
main part of the cross dyke lies on the south side of the road and starts with
a pair of stones that are marked by the Ordnance Survey. The north western
stone has been reused as a marker stone and roughly inscribed with the name
Hart Leap. The cross dyke extends south eastwards from these stones as a low,
broad and rounded bank approximately 9m wide, standing up to 0.5m above the
flanking ditches which are each about 3m wide. Where the dyke runs past an
area of shallow ironstone quarrying, the flanking ditches become fainter, but
can still be traced as slight linear depressions. Just beyond a path marked by
the Ordnance Survey, the dyke becomes more pronounced and bends slightly more
southwards. The central bank becomes narrower and higher, standing up to 1.3m
above the bases of the flanking ditches, 0.3m above the surrounding land
surface. On the outside of the two ditches there are also a pair of 0.1m-0.2m
high, 2m wide banks, with the whole dyke measuring 15m wide. The top of the
central bank retains a couple of orthostatic wall stones, more of which
survived in 1968 when the dyke was surveyed by R Hayes. The inscribed stone,
the stone to its south east and a third stone which is adjacent to the area of
quarrying, are all on the line of the top of the bank and are considered to be
further remains of a wall of upright stones thought to have originally been
part of the dyke. The south eastern end of the dyke quickly peters out just
short of the drystone wall marking the edge of the unenclosed moorland. Slight
depressions of the flanking ditches can be seen extending downhill beyond this
wall, but these are not included in the scheduling.
On the north side of the road there is a 55m long stretch of dyke which is
similar in nature to the north western part of the dyke to the south of the
road. The central bank is slightly narrower and with the flanking ditches, the
whole dyke is typically 12m wide. Both ends of this section fade out. Beyond
the end to the south east, the ground is disturbed by trackways and the modern
road. To the north west there is an area of boggy ground which is the source
of a small stream.

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.

Hart Leap cross dyke is a relatively 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 survival of a second cross dyke across the
rigg, to the south west.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Harding, A F, Ostoja-Zagorski, J, 'Archaeological Journal' in Prehistoric and Early Medieval Activity on Danby Rigg, N Yorks, , Vol. 151, (1994), 73-82
Vyner, B E, 'CBA Research Report 101: Moorland Monuments' in The Brides Of Place: Cross-Ridge Boundaries Reviewed, (1995), 16-30

Source: Historic England

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