Ancient Monuments

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Earthwork (possibly civil war) on Bovey Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Bovey Tracey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5766 / 50°34'35"N

Longitude: -3.6669 / 3°40'0"W

OS Eastings: 282068.146879

OS Northings: 76532.217102

OS Grid: SX820765

Mapcode National: GBR QM.J5M2

Mapcode Global: FRA 376J.WTC

Entry Name: Earthwork (possibly civil war) on Bovey Heath

Scheduled Date: 15 December 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002657

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 997

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bovey Tracey

Built-Up Area: Heathfield

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bovey Tracey St John with Heathfield

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


A Civil War breastwork on Bovey Heath, 540m south of Wifford Piggery.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 November 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.

This monument which falls into two areas includes a Civil War breastwork situated on Bovey Heath on the western bank of the River Bovey. The earthwork survives as a substantial linear rampart running north east to south west and measuring up to 250m in length, 13m wide and 3.5m high. On the northern side is a 4m wide ditch which varies considerably in depth reaching up to 1.1m and is water filled in places. The earthwork connects two high points utilising a strong east to west scarp. The rampart is constructed of sandy soil and local clay with hardly any stone visible. Both rampart and ditch are bisected by a road which itself was built in 1765 and by a number of other cuttings. The earthwork is traditionally interpreted as a breastwork constructed during the Civil War and associated with the Battle of Bovey Heath fought in 1645 although later mining activity in this area may serve to confuse the interpretation.

Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are scheduled separately but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The battles and sieges of the English Civil War (1642-52) between King and Parliament were the last major active military campaigns to be undertaken on English soil and have left their mark on the English landscape in a variety of ways. Fieldworks are earthworks which were raised during the military campaigns to provide temporary protection for infantry or to act as gun emplacements. The earthworks, which may have been reinforced with revetting and palisades, consisted of banks and ditches and varied in complexity from simple breastworks to complex systems of banks and interconnecting trenches. They can be recognised today as surviving earthworks or as crop or soil marks on aerial photographs. They are recorded widely throughout England, with concentrations in the main areas of campaigning, and have been recognised to be unique in representing the only evidence on the ground of military campaigns fought in England since the introduction of guns. Despite damage through burrowing animals, cutting by a road and later industrial activities the Civil War breastwork on Bovey Heath survives comparatively well and is a well constructed and massively built defensive work. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, date, military significance and strategy and its overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-446779

Source: Historic England

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