Calverside co-axial field system

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Historical Environment Record No:
Reeth, Fremington & Healaugh
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Calverside co-axial field system MYD36698 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Calverside co-axial field system MYD36698 (c) YDNPA, 2023

In Central Swaledale, archaeologists have discovered the remains of large, later prehistoric field systems consisting of long parallel banks running for great distances across moorland. These systems are known as co-axial field systems because of the long parallel field boundaries. It is not yet clear how far down the valley sides these moorland systems extended because they have largely been destroyed by later cultivation and wall building in the present day enclosed land. The existence of such enormous field systems implies a considerable amount of central organisation. Dating so far is tentative but archaeologists think that at least some of the Swaledale system was laid out some time during the Iron Age.

The system on Calverside has at least three phases and is associated with several enclosures one of which may be of Neolithic date. The parallel field boundaries run SSW-NNE over the flanks of Calver Hill north of Healaugh. The boundaries appear as lines of stones or low ruined walls, sometimes grassed over to form low banks up to a metre wide. Excavated examples appear as broad, low stone walls, with facing stones enclosing a rubble core. They may once have carried fences or hedges.


Fleming, Andrew (1998) Swaledale. Valley of the Wild River. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press