Ancient Monuments

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Pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Hartfield, East Sussex

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Latitude: 51.0701 / 51°4'12"N

Longitude: 0.051 / 0°3'3"E

OS Eastings: 543792.841907

OS Northings: 132091.068401

OS Grid: TQ437320

Mapcode National: GBR LNY.V0B

Mapcode Global: FRA B6Z9.CNW

Entry Name: Pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood

Scheduled Date: 17 March 1976

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002225

English Heritage Legacy ID: ES 397

County: East Sussex

Civil Parish: Hartfield

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Coleman's Hatch Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


Pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood, 143m south-east of Church Cottage.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a pillow mound, or artificial rabbit warren, and a semi-circular earthwork denoted by an internal bank and external ditch. It is situated on a south-facing slope near the summit of a ridge, south of Colemans Hatch Road in Ashdown Forest. The pillow mound is an earthen mound about 91m long, 9m wide and 1.2m high. There are traces of flanking ditches about 0.4m deep on the north-east and south-west sides. The semi-circular earthwork is located near the north end of the pillow mound. It includes an external ditch, about 37m across, which has an inner bank on the north side but is open on the south-east side. The interior is slightly raised above the surrounding ground level.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as a nearby hillfort, Roman villa and ironworks are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Rabbits were valuable animals in the medieval and post-medieval periods, which were used for their meat and fur. The mounds served as burrowing ground for the rabbits, which were caught by covering the mound with a net and introducing a polecat or ferret. Pillow mounds can be found singly or in groups and usually range from 6m to 150m long, although larger and smaller examples have been known. They are rarely more than 10m wide and most have transverse dimensions of between 4m and 6m. They are most common on sloping ground, situated at right angles to the contours.

The exact function of the semi-circular shaped earthwork is uncertain, however it is clear that it is very unusual in form and for this reason must be considered as of interest.

The pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood, 143m south-east of Church Cottage survive well and will contain information relating to their original construction and function. The pillow mound is a significant remainder of medieval or post-medieval rabbit farming on Ashdown Forest.

The surrounding area has many archaeological features, which thereby enhance its significance. The monument has not been excavated and as such has a high degree of potential for further archaeological investigation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Williamson, T, The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens, (2006)
East Sussex HER MES5178. NMR TQ43SW14. PastScape 407145.

Source: Historic England

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