Crosedale shieling site

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Unexcavated Crosedale shieling MYD36551 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Unexcavated Crosedale shieling MYD36551 (c) YDNPA, 2023

The site at Crosedale in the Howgill Fells was excavated by the Sedbergh and District History Society in the 1990s. They found the stone foundations of a small rectangular building (about 10 metres x 5 metres) set on a levelled platform dug into the natural slope of the hillside. Finds of pottery and a firepit indicated that the building had a domestic function, most likely as a summer shelter for farmers watching over stock grazing upland pastures. Such buildings are known as scales or sheilings. The finds suggested that it was built during or before the late twelfth century. It seems to have continued in use until its final abandonment during the late thirteenth to fourteenth centuries. The location of the firepit in the eastern corner of the building means that the roof was probably made from relatively fireproof turf. The walls of the hut may have been entirely of stone or with an upper layer of turf or timber resting on stone footings. Nothing now remains of the Crosedale shieling but an excellent unexcavated example lies a short distance to the north.

Crosedale - excavation MYD36551 © N Hair & R Newman, 2004.

Crosedale – excavation 1990s MYD36551 © N Hair & R Newman, 2004.


Hair, N & Newman, R (1999)”Excavation of Medieval Settlement Remains at Crosedale in Howgill” TCWAAS. Vol 99 pp141-158


Entering Sedbergh from west on A684, take left hand turn beside Dalesman pub into Howgill Lane. After 1 1/2 miles take public footpath on right signed to Craggstone Wood. Follow well-marked path up to and through the wood, across a small field and through a gate in the field wall onto the fell. Head towards a large sheep fold, crossing a ford on the way. At the sheepfold, take a path that heads back toward another gate in the field wall. Don't go through the gate. Turn right and follow the field wall north for 300 metres until you reach a clump of trees. Just south of them and about 5 metres from the path lies the earthwork remains of a small shieling. Distance from Howgill Lane just under a mile. The site of the excavation can be reached by retracing your steps along the wall to the field gate and then taking a path that runs eastwards. The site of the excavation lies amongst the bracken on the right of this path after about 200 metres. There is little to see.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Sedbergh. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 874 for Cumbria information.


Steep inclines and rough going in places. Steep wooden step stile at start plus a ladder stile, hand gates and a shallow ford to cross along the way.