The Prehistoric Project started on 15th January 2015 and lasted until the end of February 2018.

Our aim was to, within the Dacre parish of Nidderdale,  find new features which could potentially be prehistoric, review them along side existing known ones, and then  excavate key feature types.  Alongside the survey and excavation work there was a well received schools programme, which included going into local primary schools to give them a greater understanding of prehistory and to organise some school trips to local prehistoric sites. Please see the school liaison page for more information. This aspect of the project continues today.

We have completed a comprehensive set of field surveys and a number of excavations, all involving members of the local community. This included some excavations and rock art recording work further up Nidderdale ( above Gouthwaite) to compare and contrast with the findings in Dacre Parish.

The farms accessed are all private, working farms and the features mentioned should not be visited without express permission from the farmer. We are particularly grateful to the farmers who allowed us to roam over and excavate their land and to the Heritage Lottery Fund for their grants enabling this project to proceed.

A summary of the project is available at here

The review of the parish is available at here, it includes a review of the features listed on the North Yorkshire Heritage Environment Record.

A review of the rock art in the parish is available at here



Field walking is where we survey the fields of a farm looking for all ‘lumps and bumps’ which might be man made at sometime in the past. We then record the position with a hand held GPS, take a photo and record the condition. In this project we were particularly looking of potential prehistoric feature.

The reports on the field walking in Dacre parish are below.

Clocken Syke Farm here

Oxen Close Farm here

Mineral Farm here

Long Ridge Crag farms  here



After reviewing the data collected from previous records and field walking we decided to undertake a series of excavations  on 2 farms in Dacre parish

A non-technical summary of the excavations

Clocken Syke Farm –here

Oxen Close Farm –here

Above Gouthwaite

We carried out rock art recording and excavations on some prehistoric round houses above Gouthwaite and Lofthouse. These have changed the story of prehistoric Nidderdale  and  and there is an exciting story to tell. The report by Jim Brightman is a combined report covering what the group did both as part of the Prehistoric Nidderdale project but also as part of the Our Farm Heritage bit of the Nidderdale’s AONB Landscape Partnership Project.

Get a free download of the report –500 Years of Continuity and Change