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Co-axial field boundaries, Wharfedale

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Co-axial boundaries, Wharfedale

YDNPA, 2004,

Co-axial boundary, Wharfedale - view

YDNPA, 2004,


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Co-axial field boundaries, Wharfedale

Historical Environment Record No: MYD36581

Parish: Grassington

OS Grid Reference: SD993676

Dale: Upper Wharfedale

Link to Archaeology Data Service:


Six separate groups of the so-called co-axial field systems have been found between Kettlewell and Grassington in Wharfedale. As the name implies, these later prehistoric field systems are characterised by long, parallel boundaries walls or banks . In Wharfedale, the main boundaries are spaced 30-50 metres apart. Occasionally closely spaced boundaries are found and these may represent droveways. The co-axial boundaries rise from the edge of the land ploughed during the Medieval period, straight across a series of limestone benches and scars, right up on to the limestone plateau. It is not clear whether they ever extended the other way, down on to the valley floor.

One block can be found above Grassington on an area known as Lea Green. The surviving co-axial system still covers more than 60 hectares (145 acres), and appears to have been later modified into a series of smaller fields, some nearly square, others rectangular. A number of curved-sided enclosures within the system may represent farmsteads. Some of these fields would have been used for growing spelt wheat and barley, but animal husbandry probably remained as the mainstay of the economy.
White, Robert (2002) The Yorkshire Dales. A Landscape Through Time. Ilkley: Great Northern Books


Take footpath out of Conistone signed to Conistone Dub. Join the Dalesway after about 3/4 mile and head south. After 1/3 mile and past a field wall the path runs over two single lines of stones about 100 metres apart, these are co-axial boundaries.

Public Transport Details

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


Path is steep, rough and stony in places with gates and stone step stiles.

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