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HER Number:MDV9146
Name:Castle Dyke, Highweek, Newton Abbot


Highweek Castle Dyke is the remains of a small medieval motte and bailey castle. Earthworks are visible as banks and ditches on aerial photographs taken from 1946 onwards and digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2017.


Grid Reference:SX 845 719
Map Sheet:SX87SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNewton Abbot
Ecclesiastical ParishHIGHWEEK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 447020
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX87SW/24
  • Old SAM County Ref: 313
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX87SW8

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CASTLE (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD)
  • MOTTE AND BAILEY (XI to XII - 1066 AD to 1200 AD)

Full description

Unknown, 16/06/1989, Historic Site Trees Face Axe (Article in Serial). SDV351309.

Nine protected Black Corsican pines to be felled at Castle Dyke and replaced with healthier specimens.

Taylor, P. T. + Lysons, S., 1821, Unknown, 313 (Article in Serial). SDV338587.

Castle Dyke in Highweek. The motte lies competely within a ringwork and has a concave top with entrance to the south-west. The bailey contained within a sub-circular ringwork completely surrounds the motte. The entrance was originally on the north side. Other details: Plate 18 - Copy of plan in Parish File.

Harris, S. G., 1884, Notes on the History of Highweek, 435-43 (Article in Serial). SDV292413.

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 618 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Remnant of a mount and bailey fort, the smallest of its class in the county. The top of the mount is surrounded by a rampart. Half of the outer rampart has perished. Other details: Plan.

Ordnance Survey, 1938, 109SE. Revision of 1932/1933 with additions in 1938. Provisional Edition (Cartographic). SDV336785.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223, RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp4 5283-84 12-JUL-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352279.

Earthworks of banks and ditches are visible.

Woolner, D. + Woolner, A., 1953, Castle Dyke, Highweek, Newton Abbot, 133-8 (Article in Serial). SDV338558.

A concave motte with a kidney-shaped bailey, the "Barbican Bailey" to its south-west, and traces of a further bailey to its north and east, which has been much built upon by modern houses. A banked way leads from the motte, skirting the barbican, to the "watering place", some 120 metres west of the barbican bailey. A broad shallow ditch south-east of the motte may be the result of modern quarrying. Interpreted as an Adulterine castle of Stephens reign (1135-1154). Some manorial history given. Occasional references to castle in Harris' article unreliable. A lopsided motte with a dished top and steepest on the east side. It is approximately 9.75 metres diameter by 6.7 metres high. The circumference of the base is 100 metres. It was originally surrounded by a ditch which is now very shallow and hardly visible to the north. There is a trace of an outer bank to the north. Author suggests a bridge across the motte ditch to the bailey was sited on the south-west side. The kidney-shaped bailey is approximately 51.8 metres by 30.5 metres with four bastion-like hummocks on the perimeter. The enclosed area slopes steeply down from the counterscarp bank of the motte ditch. There are suggestions of a further bailey 210 metres by 102 metres to the north and east of the motte which is now built over. Faint traces of its bank are visible in the grounds of the modern houses and includes Castle Dyke Farm house.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1954 - 1980, SX87SW 8 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV338581.

1. Site visit 18th December 1951. Field called 'Castle Field' behind Castle Ditch Farm in Highweek. Small earthwork which appears to have been a motte and bailey.
2. Castle Dyke is the remnant of a motte and bailey fort, the smallest of its class in the county. The top of the mount is surrounded by a rampart and the entrance to it is on the southwest. The entrance to the bailey was originally to the north.
3. Site visit 2nd December 1952. The bailey has been practically obliterated but seems to have followed the line of the present hedge on the west and south, and the wall bordering the road on the east and north.
4. Site visit 3rd December 1952. The motte is a prominent feature, grass covered and surmounted by a clump of trees. Suggested that the alleged course of the bailey bank make it appear unnecessarily large and irregular and the it was probably only small, to conform with the motte. Other details: Plan.

Devon County Council, 1975, Newton Abbot Town Trails, 58 (Article in Monograph). SDV352459.

Higham, R. A., 1979, The Castles of Medieval Devon, 137-8 (Post-Graduate Thesis). SDV336189.

Date of castle impossible to establish. Situation suggests it might be a campaign foundation of the Norman conquest phase, but it could be a Civil War (Stephen) castle or a domestic site, precursor of Bradley Manor. Small triangular bailey. The idea of a larger additional bailey may be due to a belief in the existing bailey being too small. Other details: Plan.

Eastwood, C., 1984, Castle Dyke (Worksheet). SDV348881.

Notes from the Woollcombe manuscript on hillforts in the Devon and Exeter Institution. Woollcombe visited the site on 29th July 1840.

Devon County Council, 1984, Castle Dyke, 19a-21a (Ground Photograph). SDV338588.

Other details: Film 608.

Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden on 15th June 1984.

Timms, S. C. + Robinson, R., 1984, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV343631.

Site lies on hilltop in rough field and garden. Strategic position with good view down Teign estuary. Site surrounded by housing, which covers south-east part of area shown as scheduled on Ancient Monuments maplet. The south-western bailey extends beyond scheduled area into garden to west of field in which motte stands. Motte has concave top surrounded by nine trees. No trees shown on 1821 plan. The bailey on the south-west side of the motte is not entirely convincing. It has a sloping interior and its form has been diminished by terracing for a tennis court in the garden to the west. The Ordnance Survey plan does not show the western extent of the possible bailey bank into this garden. No trace of a north-eastern second bailey depicted in Archaeologia plan which cannot now be followed on the ground.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/HT, 8-9 (Aerial Photograph). SDV338589.

Moxon Browne, K. E., 1987, Untitled Source (Correspondence). SDV338585.

Visted after oral report of damage to the motte. In fact the site is in excellent condition and is well kept. The boundary between the motte and the garden of Castle Dyke House has been removed.

Higham, R. A., 1988, Devon Castles: An Annotated List, 144 (Article in Serial). SDV341278.

Department of Environment, 1989, Highweek Castle Dyke (Correspondence). SDV338586.

Permission granted for removal and replacement of trees.

Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P., 1996, Devon Castles (Draft Text), 7, 11, Gazetteer (Monograph). SDV354350.

A small, undocumented mote and bailey presumed to be of 11th-12th century date and built during the Norman conquest or during the subsequent consolidation of estates or during the troubled period of Stephen's reign. It commands extensive views south and east over the Teign estuary.
The motte is about 32 metres diameter with a depression in the top suggesting the remains of a rampart, described in the 19th century, or the foundations of a building. On the south-west side of the motte is a small, kidney-shaped bailey enclosed by a rampart. A depression in the side of the motte facing the bailey suggests the site of a timber bridge giving access from the bailey to the motte.

Environment Agency, 1998-2017, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor, LIDAR SX8471 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017 (Cartographic). SDV361470.

Earthworks of banks and ditches are visible.

Waterman CPM Ltd, 2006, Mile End, Newton Abbot: Archaeological Assessment, 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV338555.

Other details: Appendix 2.

English Heritage, 2009, Castle Dyke (Correspondence). SDV343792.

Scheduled Monument Consent to backfill holes left by rotting tree roots on the summit of the monument.

English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 112 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Generally unsatisfactory with major localised problems. Principal vulnerability gardening.

English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West, 105 (Report - non-specific). SDV344777.

Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (AI&M) (Interpretation). SDV361305.

Earthworks of Castle Dyke motte and bailey are visible as banks and ditches on aerial photographs taken from 1946 onwards and digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2017, at Highweek, Newton Abbot. The motte is visible as a sub-circular shaped earthwork mound which measures circa 25m in diameter. Within the centre of a mound is visible a shallow oval shaped depression, circa 9m long by 7m wide, partly defined by narrow banks and the location of a possible former structure. The motte is enclosed by an outer ditch up to 9m wide, with the bailey positioned to the southwest where the ditch is at its narrowest. The kidney shape bailey is defined by a prominent earthwork bank, up to 7m wide, which enclosures an area of circa 0.04 hectares, with outer ditches to both the north and south up to 8m wide. There is no evidence for this ditch to the west within the grounds of Castle Dyke House has has possibly been terraced away. A curvilinear outwork is also visible as a sinuous bank with corresponding ditch to the east of the bailey, and a broad low bank is possibly present to the north.

Ministry of Works, Pre 1980, Highweek Castle Dyke (Schedule Document). SDV338579.

A small motte and bailey. Motte well-preserved, about 100 feet in diameter and 15 feet high. Bailey to south-west, small and on a slope, can never have held much in the way of domestic buildings. The inner bank is clear at the sides but has washed down the hill in the centre. Commands a superb view of the Teign estuary.

Griffiths, D. M., Pre 1982, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV338582.

Note conflict of opinion as to original form. Either a small motte and bailey, a small motte with one large and one small bailey, or a "ringwork" type of earthwork with central mound, possibly the site of a tower. The Ordnance Survey, Woolner and Lysons plans do not agree.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV292413Article in Serial: Harris, S. G.. 1884. Notes on the History of Highweek. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 16. A5 Hardback. 435-43.
SDV336189Post-Graduate Thesis: Higham, R. A.. 1979. The Castles of Medieval Devon. University of Exeter Thesis. Unknown. 137-8.
SDV336785Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1938. 109SE. Revision of 1932/1933 with additions in 1938. Provisional Edition. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV338555Report - Assessment: Waterman CPM Ltd. 2006. Mile End, Newton Abbot: Archaeological Assessment. Waterman CPM Ltd. H2051_03b. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV338558Article in Serial: Woolner, D. + Woolner, A.. 1953. Castle Dyke, Highweek, Newton Abbot. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 85. A5 Hardback. 133-8.
SDV338579Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. Pre 1980. Highweek Castle Dyke. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV338581Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1954 - 1980. SX87SW 8. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV338582Personal Comment: Griffiths, D. M.. Pre 1982. Not Applicable.
SDV338585Correspondence: Moxon Browne, K. E.. 1987. Letter. Letter.
SDV338586Correspondence: Department of Environment. 1989. Highweek Castle Dyke. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV338587Article in Serial: Taylor, P. T. + Lysons, S.. 1821. Unknown. Archaeologia. 19. Unknown + digital. 313.
SDV338588Ground Photograph: Devon County Council. 1984. Castle Dyke. Devon County Council Conservation Section Collection. Photograph (Paper) + Digital. 19a-21a.
SDV338589Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/HT. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8-9.
SDV341278Article in Serial: Higham, R. A.. 1988. Devon Castles: An Annotated List. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 46. Paperback Volume. 144.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 618.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 112.
SDV343082Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV343631Personal Comment: Timms, S. C. + Robinson, R.. 1984. Not Applicable.
SDV343792Correspondence: English Heritage. 2009. Castle Dyke. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. A4 Stapled.
SDV344777Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2010. Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West. English Heritage Report. Digital. 105.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV348881Worksheet: Eastwood, C.. 1984. Castle Dyke. Worksheet.
SDV351309Article in Serial: Unknown. 16/06/1989. Historic Site Trees Face Axe. Mid Devon Advertiser. Newspaper/Magazine Cuttin.
SDV352279Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/3G/TUD/UK/223 Vp4 5283-84 12-JUL-1946.
SDV352459Article in Monograph: Devon County Council. 1975. Newton Abbot Town Trails. Devon Town Trails: European Architectural Heritage Year. Paperback Volume. 58.
SDV354350Monograph: Higham, R. A. + Freeman, J. P.. 1996. Devon Castles (Draft Text). Devon Castles. A4 Unbound + Digital. 7, 11, Gazetteer.
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (AI&M). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV361470Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2017. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SX8471 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017. [Mapped feature: #113802 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV9141Related to: Bradley Manor, Newton Abbot (Building)
MDV9139Related to: Castle Dyke Farm, 49 Highweek Village, Newton Abbot (Building)
MDV9156Related to: Castle Dyke Meadow Fieldname in Highweek (Monument)
MDV73711Related to: High Castle Dyke Farm, 47 Highweek Village, Newton Abbot (Building)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV4236 - Mile End, Newton Abbot
  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey: Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Nov 30 2023 4:19PM