Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

RCAHMS Afforestable Land Survey, Liddesdale

Date February 1996 - 1998

Event ID 550875

Category Project

Type Project


Field survey in this area was begun in February 1996 and was completed early in April 1996. The identification of the extensive earthwork systems associated with Hermitage Castle helps to set the castle more cogently in its surrounding landscape.

RCAHMS Annual Report 1995-6, 20

Liddesdale: field survey of part of the western side of Liddesdale, centred on Newcastleton, has been completed. As well as discovering a considerable number of new prehistoric monuments, in particular Iron Age settlements, the survey also identified an important group of later medieval linear earthworks which had been built to enclose, for agricultural purposes, what had formerly been open ground.


Field survey concentrated on the west side of the valley, where afforestation is as yet more limited, providing a strip of ground 20km long, stretching from Hermitage Castle in the north to the English Border in the south. It revealed the most extensive assarting landscape yet to emerge from an archaeological survey of a hunting forest. This comprises an interconnected system of deer-dykes looping from burn to burn around the remains of medieval and post-medieval settlement and cultivation. Documentary sources and field evidence suggest three phases of abandonment of this settlement landscape ranging from the 15th century to the late 18th century. To place this survey in a wider context, an historic landuse assessment of the valley is to be carried out during 1997.

RCAHMS Annual Report 1996-7, 21

Field survey in Liddesdale in 1996 revealed the well-preserved settlement landscape of a medieval hunting forest. Additional fieldwork in the winter of 1997-8 concentrated on the production of detailed drawings of selected farmsteads, whilst further work was undertaken on the earth works surrounding Hermitage Castle and the nearby chapel, which hint at a surprising depth of occupation sequence on the site.

RCAHMS Annual Report 1997-8, 22

Project Code: LID96

Area: 78km2

Structures database: MS731/20 (manuscript), DX001442(database)

Linework: TM000559

People and Organisations

Digital Images