Castle Dykes henge from the air MYD4204 (c) YDNPA, 2023
Castle Dykes is a well-preserved Neolithic henge consisting of a roughly circular enclosure, defined by a bank with an internal ditch. It sits on a low glacial ridge at 300 metres OD. As a result it commands good views to the north, east and west. This contrasts with other henges, which are usually located on low-lying riverside terraces.
The maximum diameter of the henge is a little over 75 metres across the crest of the bank. The earthwork survives to an average height of around 2 metres from the crest of the bank to the bottom of the ditch. An original entrance can be seen on the eastern side. It is narrow with the causeway over the ditch being only 2 metres wide. There is some evidence that a number of short stones may have been arranged in a circle around the inner slope of the henge bank.
Henges were probably used for a variety of functions, some ritual, to do with the passing of the seasons, others social, as a meeting place where goods could be exchanged and marriage partners found. The construction of such a sizeable monument implies a well-organised society with an economic surplus allowing some of its members the free time to work on the project.
Harding, A F with Lee, G E (1987) Henge Monuments and Related Sites of Great Britain. Oxford: BAR British Series 175