Black Hill Enclosure, Middleton Moor, North Yorkshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SE 11757 51949

Getting Here

Just below Black Hill in the Middleton Moor Enclosure, little more than 10 yards east of the footpath on the east side of Loftshaw Gill, the slope drops down and into a slight ‘bowl’ in the landscape.  Here it is!

Archaeology & History

This is a previously undiscovered prehistoric settlement, enclosure, or something along those lines!  We came across it in April 2005 and is found amidst the mixed heather and bracken and has a scattering of small stones, as if in the wake of a dried stream from bygone times.  But whatever stream might once have been here, it’s long since fallen back to Earth — but at a point where a few rushes (Juncus conglomeratus) can be seen we find the aged remains of a large oval enclosure.

Similar in form to the other remains located up here by Eric Cowling (1946) in the 1930s and ’40s, when Richard Stroud and I first found this, structural remains of distinct lengths of walling were visible – but once the vegetation started growing back here again, it was almost impossible to discern.

Faint remains of enclosure walling

The main archaeological remains comprises of an oval-shaped structure, with what seemed liked a distinct Bronze Age note stamped on the walling — though it could be earlier, but without excavation it’s impossible to say. Most of the walling was just above ground-level, making it difficult to appreciate in the photo. It measures approximately 40 feet north-south and 33 feet east-west. The walling itself averages between 18-24 inches wide and was no more than one-foot tall at the highest.  Near the middle of the enclosure there were further sections of walling indicating different ‘rooms’ in the overall structure of things here.

Like I say, we unfortunately couldn’t get a decent image of this site cos the vegetation was already covering it up. So if you wanna see it, gerrup there soon after the heather burning’s been done here — otherwise it’s gonna be at least another year before you getta chance to see anything.  In Richard Stroud’s photo here, you’re looking at the bottom curve of the enclosure. You can just make out the line of walling near the centre of the picture, and two-thirds the way to the right you can see the enclosure wall curve closer to the bottom of the photo. (the site obviously requires a much better assessment from someone far more competent than me!)


  1. Cowling, E.T., Rombald’s Way, William Walker: Otley 1946.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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