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Devil's Ditch, section extending 200yds (180m) east of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park

A Scheduled Monument in Boxgrove, West Sussex

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.8681 / 50°52'5"N

Longitude: -0.7294 / 0°43'45"W

OS Eastings: 489507.204399

OS Northings: 108385.565692

OS Grid: SU895083

Mapcode National: GBR DGG.GDP

Mapcode Global: FRA 96CT.1N2

Entry Name: Devil's Ditch, section extending 200yds (180m) E of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park

Scheduled Date: 24 January 1935

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005872

English Heritage Legacy ID: WS 76

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Boxgrove

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Boxgrove

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

Summary

A 180m length of Devil’s Ditch, running east of Goodwood Park Hotel towards Redvins Copse West.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 22 October 2014. The 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 180m length of Devil’s Ditch, also known as the Devil’s Dyke, a prehistoric linear boundary surviving as an earthwork and below-ground archaeological remains. It is situated on a gentle south-facing slope, SSW of Home Farm Dairy.
The earthwork is denoted by a bank and, on its north side, a ditch which is about 3m below the top of the bank and about 6m wide. It runs west to east from the cross roads at Goodwood Park Hotel, passing south of Sandpit Copse, before disappearing in a field near Redvins Copse West.

The Devil’s Ditch in Sussex has been documented by antiquarians since at least the 18th century. It is part of a group of linear earthworks on the gravel plain between the foot of the South Downs and Chichester Harbour. The entrenchments run from Lavant to Boxgrove and appear to enclose the area of the coastal plain to the south. It has been suggested that these marked out a high status, proto-urban tribal settlement (or ‘oppidum’) preceding the Roman invasion. The Devil’s Ditch is thought to date to the Late Iron Age (about 100 BC – AD 43) but was recut and extended in places during the medieval period. The name of the entrenchment is derived from a local tradition, which holds that the ditch was the work of the devil in an attempt to channel the sea and flood the churches of Sussex.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying from between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction often spans at least a millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use from the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The 180m length of Devil’s Ditch, running east of Goodwood Park Hotel towards Redvins Copse West is well preserved. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the earthwork and the landscape in which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Hamilton, S, Gregory, K, 'Updating the Sussex Iron Age' in Sussex Archaeological Collections, , Vol. 138, (2000), 63 & 66
Other
West Sussex HER 1940 - MWS3239. NMR LINEAR 34. PastScape 1065548.

Source: Historic England

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