The low-lying Vale of Mowbray between the central Pennines and the Hambleton Hills is the location for a remarkable concentration of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments. There are no less than six giant henges, all almost identical in their size and design, located within 10kms of each other. They are the largest such sites outside the Wessex chalkland.

The significance of this area is emphasised by the existence of other nearby monuments. Immediately to the south of the Vale of Mowbray lies the imposing stone settings of the Devil’s Arrows, while to the north is the cursus at Scorton.

The most impressive monuments can be found at Thornborough (SE 7928). Sited across a gravel plateau which flanks the River Ure are three almost identical and equally-spaced henges all with the same north-west/south-east alignment. They are approximately 550m apart and the alignment extends for nearly 1.7km. The central henge is superimposed upon an earlier cursus while a double pit alignment extends for at least 350m alongside the southern henge. A number of round barrows are scattered across the landscape including at each end of the double pit alignment.

The design of the henges sets Thornborough apart from most comparable later Neolithic complexes. Their size is almost identical, each possessing a diameter of around 240m. They are enclosed by a massive ditch and bank, interrupted by a pair of entrances, and an outer ditch. Their design is matched by the three almost identical monuments a few kilometres downstream at Nunwick, Hutton Moor and Cana Barn.

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