Cratcliff East Enclosure, Harthill, Derbyshire

Enclosure:  OS Grid Reference – SK 2259 6238

Getting Here

Site of Cratcliff West enclosure

Site of Cratcliff West enclosure

Taking the roughly north-south road betwixt the village of Elton and the town of Youlgreave, rising up to see the great rock outcrop of Robin Hood’s Stride, park-up by the roadside and walk down the path towards the impressive rocky rise of Robin Hood’s Stride.  Keep to the fields below the Rise on its north side and head for the next wooded rise 2-300 yards west.  In the field you’ll cross (field number 202 in on the map, right) before this wooded crag [Cratcliffe Rocks], the outline of the enclosure is beneath your very feet.

Archaeology & History

Aerial image of the Ninestone Ring enclosure

Aerial image of the Ninestone Ring enclosure

This blatantly obvious oval-shaped enclosure or settlement ring has had very little said of it in archaeological circles as far as I can tell. (please correct me if it has!)  I found it quite fortuitously during aerial surveys of the nearby Nine Stones circle.  It’s certainly quite large.  With a general circumference of roughly 285 yards (260.5m), the relative diameters of this enclosure are—from north to south—91 yards (83m) and—east to west—80 yards (73.25m).  The ditch alone is quite wide all the way around, almost giving it a ‘henge’ quality.  Its southern section is nearly 10 yards across at one point!

The northwest section of the enclosure has been built into, or upon a small natural outcrop of rocks.  But also at this point—as seen clearly in the aerial photo—on the other side of the wall just past the raised natural outcrop, is a long straight parallel linear feature, very probably man-made, running away to the northwest for at least 174 yards (159m).  It too is quite large, averaging  more than 13 yards (12m) across all along the length of this “trackway”: twice as wide as the nearest road and similar in form to the smaller cursus monuments that scattered neolithic Britain.

The site seems to be typical in form and structure to general Iron Age, or perhaps late Bronze Age settlements – but without a proper ground appraisal, this is a purely speculative appraisal.  Any further information or images of this site to enable a clearer picture of its nature would be most welcome.

Acknowledgements:  With thanks in various way to Pete Woolf, Dave Williams, Geoff Watson & Martin Burroughs.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 


About megalithix

Occultist, prehistorian and independent archaeological researcher, specializing in prehistoric rock art, Neolithic, Bronze Age & Iron Age sites, and the animistic cosmologies of pre-Christian & traditional cultures.
This entry was posted in Brigantia (Northern England), Derbyshire, Settlement/Enclosures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Cratcliff East Enclosure, Harthill, Derbyshire

  1. Sum Dood says:

    Having identified somewhere as a v likely previously unidentified prehisto location, do you register its existence anywhere official-ish?

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    I get up that way a fair bit… I’ll have to try and get out there.

  3. megalithix says:

    That would be good Sue. ;)

  4. Sue Vincent says:

    Do my best, Paul :)

  5. megalithix says:

    No, not anymore. I tried to do such things when I was young – but as the years went on, I found most of the archaeologists I contacted (when I found new sites) were dismissive, rude and seem to exhibit what one friend called “professional jealousy.” One archaeologist for example, after I’d discovered some unrecorded prehistoric rock art on Ilkley Moor (so I went to see him to tell him about it and gerrit recorded – pre-internet days), told me “No you haven’t found any. They’re all recorded.” We did a quick ping-pong of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to each other, nd I walked out of the office somewhat bewildered at the response. I tried again with some other new findings and got the same response. Similar things occurred a few other times with other ‘officials’ – so I don’t waste my time with them anymore.

    Oddly enough – on this same subject – I was talking with a colleague about this earlier this morning. He wrote an email to one of North Yorkshire’s regional archaeologists, about an unrecorded site in the region. Before sending it, he added 3 other fellow archaeo’s into the address-bar, so that it went to 4 professionals, thinking that he’d get a response. 28 days later, he emailed them again. He heard nothing – from any of them. And those ignorant tossers get paid a wage??? It simply isn’t good enough – and shows us that they’re merely doing it “as a job” and are not truly passionate about what they’re doing. Sad but true.

    My philosophy now is a simple one: if the archaeo’s or their fellow professionals are interested in anything we discover, they can contact me or my colleagues. I don’t really see the point of wasting our time – and, in some instances, later finding that some of them do write-ups about the places we’ve uncovered without giving due credit. TNA’s good enough as a stand-alone. Cambridge, Oxford, Glasgow, Bradshaw Foundation and other internationally renowned organizations have (of their own volition) signed-up and now follow us on Twitter & elsewhere. If the regional archaeo’s (or whoever it is that does the site-record-keeping) are worthy of their job, they can just sign-up and add whatever data we report.

    I for one would love to be able to work with those who allege (and I use that word intentionally) to be interested in our ancient history, but they don’t seem interested when intellectuals outside of their inner-circles make good discoveries. Weird ey…? Not all of them are gonna be like this, obviously – but those I’ve encountered have tarred my perception of archaeologists adversely. Maybe some decent ones will come along and help re-train my old and ingrained ways…? ;)

    A bit long-winded of me (soz), but I hope that answers your query. All the best – P.

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