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Black Dyke

In the civil parish of Bardon Mill; Bellingham; Greystead; Haydon; Simonburn; Wark.
In the historic county of Northumberland.
Modern Authority of Northumberland.
1974 county of Northumberland.
Medieval County of Northumberland.

OS Map Grid Reference: NY806647
Latitude 54.97731° Longitude -2.30323°

Black Dyke has been described as a Linear Defence or Dyke although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.


The Black Dyke is an earthwork feature defined by a ditch up to 1.8m deep on its west side. The purpose of the dyke is not known but it is thought to date to before the Roman period. It runs for several kilometres from the west of Bellingham south and westwards through Wark Forest. Some sections are visible on aerial photographs and it is suggested that the dyke may have been an intermittent feature rather than a continuous one. In some places, later parish boundary walls follow the line of the dyke. (Keys to the Past)

Of unknown date, the Black Dyke stretches between the North and South Tynes cutting off an area of 48,000 acres. Possibly constructed to prevent cattle raiding. (PastScape no 1066037)
It was seen as an earthwork and mapped from air photographs. Visible as an earthen bank with a ditch on the west side, this linear boundary is sometimes seen intermittently and now has a later stone wall running on top for most of its course. In some places this wall now forms the parish boundary. The northern part of the course of this feature may now lie within an extensive forestry plantation. Although the air photography which was available to the project included photographs taken before the creation of the plantations, nevertheless the feature could not be identified to the north of Whitelee Cleugh. (PastScape no 1393614)

This monument is usually dated as prehistoric but PastScape does give a possible medieval date as well although the fact that parish boundaries follow the line of the dyke suggests it pre dates the medieval period in construction although possible medieval maintenance and use cannot be total excluded.
Map reference for southern end of the Dyke.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:28

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