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Heriot's Dyke, Greenlaw Moor

Linear Earthwork (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Heriot's Dyke, Greenlaw Moor

Classification Linear Earthwork (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Herrit's Dyke; Harrits Dyke

Canmore ID 79782

Site Number NT74NW 40

NGR NT 7108 4842

NGR Description From NT 7000 4848 to NT 7499 4793

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Greenlaw
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Accessing Scotland's Past Project

Heriot's Dyke, which runs across Greenlaw Moor from east to west, once formed a boundary marker. Originally, it was probably much longer.

Across Greenlaw Moor, the dyke survives as a rounded bank, with a ditch to the north. It is thought that this monument represents an early form of political boundary, and it may date from anywhere between the late prehistoric to medieval period.

The dyke has survived on the moor as the land has not been subjected to intensive agriculture, although it has suffered some damage through burrowing.

Text prepared by RCAHMS as part of the Accessing Scotland's Past project

Archaeology Notes

NT74NW 40 from 7000 4848 to 7499 4793. LIN 6.

Formerly 531.

NT 7007 4848 to NT 7209 4842: About 1.5 miles due north of Greenlaw Church this dyke is encountered crossing the open moorland from east to west. It extends from the west side of the Duns road, opposite the entrance to Flourishwells, for about 1 mile, till it loses itself in a deep natural glen about 170 yards east of Snawburn. It consists of a low mound with a ditch to the north of it. The dimensions vary greatly, but in places the mound is some 12 feet across, and the ditch 6 to 8 feet below its crest, 15 to 18 feet wide at the top, and 3 to 4 feet at the bottom. To the west of the fence which connects the dyke with the east edge of the cultivated land lying to the south of it, the mound of the dyke becomes double, being divided by a narrow trench about 3 feet across. Both mounds are low, and their combined breadth at base is about 16 feet. West of the Fangrist Burn the dyke reappears, and may be traced by a grassy line among the heather (no mound remains) for some 1200 yards to the edge of cultivated ground on the farm of Hallyburton.

RCAHMS 1915.

NT 7000 4848 to NT 7003 4849: No trace of this dyke, merely a track in the heather (JD 1955).

NT 7000 4848 to NT 7100 4842: Extant, see KM NT 1048 (RD 1970)

NT 7003 4849 to NT 7017 4850: The dyke is a deep trench 3m broad and 3m deep (JD 1955).

NT 7006 4848 to NT 7175 4842: A stretch of the earthwork actually begins at NS c.705 484, some 430yds W of the conspicuous stop-butt (NT 7083 4845; see also NT74NW 71) of an abandoned rifle range, and three-eighths of a mile E of Fangrist Burn (NT 69 48; See NT64NE 31).

The earthwork, however, was evidently meant to give place to the Snaw Burn (on mapsheet MT64NE, but not marked) as soon as this had grown large enough to act as an effective landmark. It runs W-E across the moor for c.1900yds and before its E terminal was destroyed it ended on the Flourishwalls Burn at NT 721 484.

It consists of a ditch with a bank on its N side, though in places, especially in the stretch just E of the large gap at the stop-butt, there is also a slight spoil-bank on the S side of the ditch and a shallow superficial scoop on the N side of the main banks. The main bank varies in breadth from 9 and a half to 14 and a half feet, and the ditch from 7 to 10 and a half feet; the ditch below is from 2 to 4ft deep below the crest of the main bank and the spoils bank is up to 7ft wide. Reaching a swampy hollow draining into the Flourishwalls Burn, it disappears for 70yds; it has probably been damaged here by traffic, tracks running N out of the hollow, leading to the peat hags which were formerly exploited in Hule Moss (NT 713 490). A further gape, 20yds wide, ending 105yds from the Greenlaw- Duns road, is evidently associated with another belt of tracks, probably an old road to Duns. Slight traces of the earthwork can be seen E of this gap, reaching almost to the road, but it has been obliterated E of the latter, though it is visible here on APs (See RAF vertical aerial photograph (106G/ SCOT/ UK9, frame no 7450-2, 1946.).

NT 7006 4848 to NT 7175 4842: This stretch of the earthwork actually begins at NS c.705 484, some 430yds W of the conspicuous stop-butt of an abandoned rifle range, and three-eighths of a mile E of Fangrist Burn.

NT 7007 4849 to NT 7036 4848: This bank and ditch appears to be a continuation of the dyke; it runs parallel to a minor stream and terminates at confluence of two streams. Graham (1964) suggests however that this length is an unassociated hollow way and that the dry watercourse was the natural extension of the dyke. This observation is supported by the fact that the ditch of the linear is on the N and not he S side, however it is not a hollow way and although the whole area is confuse by tracks and ditches it seems to be part of the linear. The 1909 OS 6 inch shows the dry watercourse as a marshy hollow. Surveyed at 1/10,000 on MSD (MJF 1979).

NT 7017 4850 to NT 7034 4847: Bank and ditch are visible. The bank gradually being lost in the natural contours of the land (JD 1955).

NT 7037 4848 to NT 7210 4841: This section of Heriot's Dyke, a linear bank and ditch links the headwaters of two rivers and is clearly a short boundary work in its own right as suggested by Graham (1964).

It crosses the high ground of Greenlaw Moor is a fairly straight lines and is well preserved with the exception of four major breaks and a number of minor mutilations. The bank averages 1m high and the ditch on the S side, 0.5m deep. It appears to be constructed of peat and small stone and was perhaps once surmounted by a palisade (MJF 1979).

NT 7043 4847 to NT 7063 4846: Only a slight bank is visible (JD 1955).

NT 7063 4846 to NT 7068 4845: There is no trace of the dyke (JD 1955).

NT 7068 4845 to NT 7081 4844: The bank and ditch are visible (JD 1955).

NT 7081 4844 to NT 7089 4843: There is no trace of the dyke (JD 1955).

At NT 7087 4845: A artificial rectilinear mound measuring 12m by 26m and 4m high (JD 1955).

This is a shooting-butt. Possibly from the Napoleonic Wars (Craw 1928) (See also NT74NW 71).

NT 7089 4843 to NT 7175 4842: Represented here by a bank and ditch averaging respectively 3m and 1m in width. It is mutilated in places by modern trackways (JD 1955).

This sections of the dyke has been confirmed (RD 1970 ).

NT 7183 4843 to NT 7200 4843: This section shows as a ditch only (JD 1955).

This sections of the dyke has been confirmed (RD 1970 ).

NT 7200 4843 to NT 7209 4842: A bank 5m broad and a ditch 3m broad (JD 1955).

Extant see KN NT7248 (RD 1970).

NT 7210 4841 to approximately NT 7218 4842: The dyke possibly continued on its same alignment to link up with a prominent bend in the Flourishwalls Burn, however any ground evidence would have been destroyed where Flourishwalls Plantation was created (MJF 1979).

NT 7212 4842 to NT 7217 4841: This section shows as a ditch only (JD 1955).

There is no trace of the dyke (RD 1970).

NT 7217 4841 to NT 7283 4812: There is no trace of the dyke (JD 1955).

No trace of the dyke in this section has been confirmed (RD 1970).

NT 7283 4812 to NT 7499 4793: There is no trace of the dyke (JD 1955).

No trace of the dyke in this section has been confirmed (RD 1970).

At NT 7418 4806: Possible continuation of the dyke c.600yds N of Chesters (NT 7410 4747) and immediately S of railway line (Craw 1928).

Possible continuation of dyke has been confirmed (RD 1970).

At NT 7471 4796: The dyke continued by trench close to the S side of wood (Craw 1928)

Continuation of dyke has been confirmed (RD 1970).

Visited by OS (JD) 1955; (RD) August 1970; (MJF) 30 June 1979.

Information from OS

J H Craw 1928; A Graham 1964.

The only surviving portion of this boundary-work in Berwickshire District is a linear earthwork measuring about 1.8km in length, which runs from the Snaw Burn, on the W side of Greenlaw Moor to the Flourishwalls Burn on the E.

RCAHMS 1980.


Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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