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Length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Barwick in Elmet and Scholes, Leeds

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Latitude: 53.8372 / 53°50'13"N

Longitude: -1.3814 / 1°22'53"W

OS Eastings: 440804.885057

OS Northings: 438055.663387

OS Grid: SE408380

Mapcode National: GBR LSS2.Q7

Mapcode Global: WHDBD.RTD7

Entry Name: Length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge

Scheduled Date: 27 September 1949

Last Amended: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018953

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31515

County: Leeds

Civil Parish: Barwick in Elmet and Scholes

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Barwick

Church of England Diocese: Leeds


The monument includes a length of the earthworks known as The Ridge, which
forms part of the Aberford Dykes. The Ridge lies north of Potterton Beck,
approximately 560m east of Potterton Bridge.
The visible remains include a scarp 3m high marking the line of the bank. This
is partly natural but provides a commanding position for the bank, which has
been reduced in height by ploughing. The ditch is visible to the south at the
base of the scarp for part of its length. The visible section of ditch is
approximately 3m deep, but is partially infilled, as observations made
during the construction of a gas pipeline have shown that the ditch is
substantial, and that a buried ground surface survives below the bank. The
infilled ditch is thought to survive throughout the length of the monument.
This section of The Ridge is well positioned to have repelled invasion from
the south.

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

The Aberford Dykes are substantial linear earthworks situated in North and
West Yorkshire, east of Leeds. They lie north and south of Cock Beck with the
modern village of Aberford at their approximate centre.
They are visible as rock-cut ditches and banks. Most of the earthworks run
approximately east-west. The ditch is on the south side of the bank and some
parts of the earthworks have an additional counterscarp bank on the same side.
The earthworks north of Cock Beck (including sections known as The Ridge,
Becca Banks and the earthwork at Field Lane) mostly occupy commanding
positions at the top of the scarp and may once have formed a single boundary.
The earthworks south of Cock Beck include the South Dyke which occupies the
top of the scarp above the beck and, crossing it, Woodhouse Moor Rein,
running north east-south west along a low rounded ridge.
The Aberford Dykes have been identified as defences of the British kingdom of
Elmet against the Anglo-Saxons in the late sixth and early seventh centuries,
or as boundaries to defend the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Deira against the
Mercians in the seventh century AD. They have also been interpreted as dykes
built to defend the territories of the Brigantes against the advance of the
Roman Empire in the first century AD. There is no documentary evidence for the
date of the Dykes, however, and firm archaeological dating evidence is sparse.
They may not all belong to one period but relate to a number of different
events. The style of construction has parallels in both the Roman and the
early post-Roman periods. Excavation at Field Lane retrieved Roman period
pottery from deposits associated with the silting up of the ditch. It is
therefore likely that, here at least, the ditch was open during the Roman
The size and extent of the Aberford Dykes imply a considerable expenditure of
time and labour, suggesting a degree of social organisation at the time of
their construction and a strong concern for territorial control, whether
military, organisational or symbolic. All known lengths of the Aberford Dykes
where significant archaeological deposits are likely to survive are considered
to be nationally important.

The length of linear earthwork known as The Ridge, part of the Aberford Dyke
system, 560m east of Potterton Bridge survives reasonably well despite the
reduction of the bank, ploughing and infilling of the ditch, and will preserve
significant archaeological information relating to a number of different
events in the Roman and post-Roman periods. The Ridge, together with Becca
Banks, is of impressive stature and occupies a commanding position at the top
of the Magnesian Limestone Scarp.

Source: Historic England


The Ridge, Yarwood B, The Ridge, (1976)

Source: Historic England

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