The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Dane's Dyke



I’d visited the southern part of Dane’s Dyke in the past on the way north either to the seaside or to Rudston but had never given it the examination it deserved. This day I planned to visit the various sections of the bank and ditch after having a look at Starr Carr. In the end I didn’t get to the Mesolithic settlement site and it had gone 4pm by the time I reached the carpark at the RSPB nature reserve of Bempton Cliffs which is fairly well signposted and makes an excellent start for a visit to the earthwork which is about a mile further east along the coast. After spending about half an hour watching the thousands of puffins, guillemots and gannets the weather took a turn for the worse and huge black clouds charged in from the west. There was no way I would make it to the dyke before it started raining so while watching everybody else dashing back to their cars I set up my camera and happily snapped away at clouds speeding over the cliffs and out to sea. Then it started raining – and I mean *raining*. I packed the camera away and started what seemed a very long walk along the cliffs in the pouring rain. Everything got soaked, the rain went right through my coat, the long wet grass left my trousers with water running down the inside and I had my own personal lake inside my boots. Strangely though it hardly bothered me, the cliff edge was deserted, just me, the birds and the elements, which is what it must have been like here for thousands of years – I have to say I really enjoyed that walk.
Eventually I got to the northern terminal of the earthwork which is best described with words like ‘huge’ and ‘looming’. There was still some evidence of the ditch on the western side but both bank and ditch finished just short of the cliffs, I’m not sure if it was designed that way to allow a narrow easily defended entrance to the enclosed area or whether the gap had been created in more recent times. Trying to get some photographs was a nightmare in the rain but I a snapped a few pictures showing the bank disappearing into the distance then made my way back to the car along the field edge this time, scouring the soil for flints but as usual found nothing.
Next stop was the central section of the earthwork where it is cut through by the B1229. Parking was only possible on the grass verge and the view to the north was limited by the trees that partially cover the bank – the view to the south was much better.
Following the road it takes a turn south at Flamborough village and doubles back west as the B1255 where there is a sharp left signposted turn as the road dips through a small wood. As you drive down the track the bank is just to your left all the way down to a carpark where the dyke ends and a gully runs down to the sea.
As it was getting late I only had time for a quick look round and as the area was covered with trees it was difficult to figure out just were the earthwork ended and the natural features began, I’m guessing they were extended and built up by the original builders anyway. At least it had stopped raining and I managed to get some photos of the bank under the gloom of the trees before setting off home. The next day I went to work in wet footwear - my coat took about three days to dry out...
Chris Collyer Posted by Chris Collyer
27th June 2003ce

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