Clennell Street Cross Dyke 4

Has been described as a Possible Linear Defence or Dyke

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains

NameClennell Street Cross Dyke 4
Alternative NamesUplaw Knowe
Historic CountryNorthumberland
Modern AuthorityNorthumberland
1974 AuthorityNorthumberland
Civil ParishAlwinton; Biddlestone

The cross dyke south east of Uplaw Knowe is well preserved. It is one of several cross dykes associated with Clennell Street, and forms one of a group of cross dykes associated with other drove roads in the border area. They will contribute to our understanding of prehistoric and medieval territorial division on the northern borderlands.

The monument includes the remains of a cross dyke which runs for 130m above a saddle of ground in a north west to south east ridge. It is thought that the monument was once a much longer feature running between steep slopes on either side of the ridge. The dyke comprises an earthen bank 4m-6m wide standing to a maximum height of 1m with a ditch 2.5m wide and 0.5m deep on the south side of the bank. Clennell Street, a medieval drove road, passes through a gap in the cross dyke but its relationship with the monument is uncertain. It is thought that the cross dyke is prehistoric in origin and marks a territorial division which may have been reused during the medieval period. (Scheduling Report)

(Centred NT 91620855) Confused earthworks and hollow-tracks.

Possibly a double cross-dyke. (Annotated Record Map Corr 6" (Sir W Aitchison Undated)

Remains of two parallel cross-dykes are situated upon north-west facing moorland pasture slopes, above a saddle in the north-west to south-east ridge, along which passes Clennell Street.

The street descending the slopes towards the saddle branches out into several hollow-ways, which have broken up and confused the original course of the cross-dykes for some part of their length. On the slopes to the south-west, however, they are quite distinct, with ditches on the south, uphill, side. The lower bank is the stronger, being 4.0-6.0m wide, with a max height of 1.0m. The higher bank is 4.0m, wide, with a max height of 0.3m, and its ditch is 3.0m wide with a max depth of 0.3m.There are further remains of the cross dykes to the north-east of the hollow-ways

In the saddle itself, are numerous fragments of ditch and bank broken up and confused by the trackways. All are very slight (F1 ASP 02-MAY-57).

The eastern bank and ditch south of Clennell Street are of peculiar construction and may be modern. At the southern extremity of this portion the ditch consists of a series of shallow rectangular pits approx 2.0m x 1.0m and separated by a narrow baulk of earth. This type of construction is a feature of modern military engineering, the pits, each representing a one man task, being the first stage in the construction of a continuous trench (F2 EG 10-MAY-57).

Only one fragment of these two parallel features between NT 91450841 and NT 91510854 bears any resemblance to a cross dyke, the remainder being insignificant and probably modern drainage ditches and upcast. The section of bank and accompanying ditch in question is only slightly weaker than that of the classic md example to the south (NT 90 NW7); but whereas there the ridge is only 250m wide, in this case a dyke of some 600m would need to be constructed to form an effective obstruction. As previously noted, there are no traces of any continuation to the NE beyond the confusion of hollow ways, buthe former existence of a complete feature cannot be entirely discounted (F3 RE 04-JUL-70).

A short distance from the SW end of the section noted by F3 a slight but similar bank and ditch strikes off in a westerly direction before

petering out. This may be a later field boundary, but it could have linked this dike with that to the NW (NT 90 NW 3) forming three sides of an enclosure to prevent cattle from straying into the steep valley of the Alwinton Burn (F4 ISS 03-FEB-75). (PastScape)

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceNT914084
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  • Rushworth, Alan, Roberts, Ian and Carlton, Richard, 2005, Droving in the Northumberland National Park (Northumberland National Park Authority) p. 56


  • Dryden, J. CBA Group 3 Newsbulletin Vol. 14 p. 12-14