Grinton-Fremington Dyke System

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Historical Environment Record No:
Grinton and Reeth, Fremington & Healaugh
OS Grid Reference:


Grinton-Fremington Dyke System MYD4514 (c) YDNPA, 2023

Grinton-Fremington Dyke System MYD4514 (c) YDNPA, 2023

The system of large linear dykes centred on Grinton and Fremington in Swaledale formed part of the boundary of an early, post-Roman, British political area or kingdom. The core of this system consists of two massive parallel banks lying about 500 metres apart, with ditches on their eastern sides. A third, somewhat smaller dyke lies 2.5 km to the east. On the moorland above Grinton are two more. As a whole the system seems to block access into Upper Swaledale and Arkengarthdale from the east.

The dykes cut Romano-British features but are ignored by the layout of the early Medieval township at Fremington and so have been dated to the period in between, in other words, the fifth, sixth or early seventh century AD.


Fleming, A (1994) ‘Swadal, Swar (and Erechwydd?): early medieval polities in Upper Swaledale’ Landscape History. Vol 16 pp17-30

White, Robert (2002) The Yorkshire Dales. A Landscape Through Time. Ilkley: Great Northern Books


Two earthwork parts of the system are on Swale Hall Lane which is a turning on the right off the Leyburn road about 50m south of the main road, B6270, in Grinton. One of them crosses this road after 300m and has tree stumps along it that are the remains of a hedge. The other crosses the road after a further 800m. This has trees growing on it and the roadside wall turns along the earthwork and a wire fence continues along the road side. A third section of eathwork is south of the B6270 in Low Fremington opposite Draycot Hall. Again it has signs of an old hedge along it.

Public Transport Details

Nearest town/village: Grinton. Call Traveline on 0870 608 2 608 to plan your journey. After the welcome message key in 885 for North Yorkshire information.


None of the earthworks are accessible but they can be seen from roads. Swale Hall Lane is a narrow single track road with no passing or parking places so to view the first two earthworks it would be preferable to walk from Grinton. The other earthwork can be seen from the B6270 but there is no parking.