Dig to explore Nazi links to Yorkshire landmark

Sutton Bank
Sutton Bank in the North York Moors is famous for its views [North Yorkshire Moors National Park Authority]

The Iron Age and Nazi stories of a North Yorkshire landmark will be explored as part of an archaeology project.

Raiding the Bank will investigate the history of Sutton Bank in the North York Moors National Park, whose staff are leading the project.

The bank is the highest point in the Hambleton Hills and carries the A170 road that links Thirsk and Scarborough. It is known for its steep gradients and hairpin bend.

Sutton Bank was the site of an Iron Age hill fort, a 14th Century battle and the training of German pilots in the 1930s.

A number of excavations and ground surveys will be carried out over the next three years to find out more about key events in its past.

The fort at Roulston Scar was occupied from around 400BC and the Battle of Old Byland was fought between English and Scottish armies in 1322. The Scots forced their way up Sutton Bank and reached Rievaulx Abbey, where the fleeing King Edward II left treasure behind.

National Park Authority project officer Steve Collison said: “The sheer number of heritage sites within a small area is quite unusual.

“With the help of volunteers, we’ll be carrying out archaeological fieldwalking, geophysical surveys, and small targeted excavations.

“We’re also delving into local archives, particularly those relating to the fascinating past of the Yorkshire Gliding Club.”

The gliding club was established in 1934 on the site of the hill fort, and the research will explore the pre-war years when leading German glider pilots regularly travelled to Sutton Bank to fly.

As they were familiar with the area, it was expected to be a target for Nazi invasion, and defences including trenches were built at the airfield during World War Two.

Interest in the escarpment’s history was inspired by events that took place to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Old Byland two years ago.

Since then, the National Grid's Landscape Enhancement Initiative has funded community research, digs and volunteering opportunities.

The grant will also go towards accessibility improvements for visitors to Sutton Bank National Park Centre.

Work will also be carried out on the paths at Hood Hill Motte, while two ponds will be created to improve biodiversity.

Follow BBC Yorkshire on FacebookX (formerly Twitter), and Instagram. Send your story ideas to yorkslincs.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story

Related internet links