Maiden Castle

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Maiden Castle from the air MYD4503 (c) YDNPA 2023

Maiden Castle from the air MYD4503 (c) YDNPA 2023

This Iron Age site lies on the south side of Swaledale. It is a large hillside enclosure surrounded by a 2 to 4 metre deep external ditch and an internal bank. There are traces of a stone rampart wall on top of the bank, but the site is unlikely to have had any significant defensive purpose since the interior is overlooked by higher ground immediately to the south. There is a single entrance on the eastern side where large, roughly dressed sandstone blocks may be evidence for a gate structure. The entrance is approached by the collapsed remains of a 100 metre long avenue formed by two parallel stone walls 5 metres apart which appear to have been built at a later date. The purpose of this structure is unknown. Few features can be identified within the enclosure except for the foundations of two stone round houses.


Bowden, Mark & Blood, Keith (2004) ‘Reassessment of two late prehistoric sites: Maiden Castle and Greenber Edge’ in White, R F & Wilson, P R (eds) (2004) Archaeology and Historic Landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales. Yorkshire Archaeological Society Occasional Paper No 2 pp89-97

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

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


From Grinton, take narrow road to west signed 'Harkerside'. After 2 miles, take public bridleway on left signed to 'Castle Bolton via Whitaside 6 ML'. After 250 metres take unsigned path up steep slope to site.

Public Transport Details

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


Bridleway is well-made but rough and uneven in places with a steep climb at end.