Ancient Monuments

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Cross-dyke at Devil's Mouth, west of Burway Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Church Stretton, Shropshire

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Latitude: 52.5433 / 52°32'35"N

Longitude: -2.8275 / 2°49'39"W

OS Eastings: 343975.929747

OS Northings: 294261.666875

OS Grid: SO439942

Mapcode National: GBR BF.DW0H

Mapcode Global: VH75T.YB2M

Entry Name: Cross-dyke at Devil's Mouth, west of Burway Hill

Scheduled Date: 28 January 1953

Last Amended: 4 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007704

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19113

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: Church Stretton

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Church Stretton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


The monument includes a bivallate cross-dyke situated at Devil's Mouth, the
narrow neck of a roughly east to west orientated spur separating Townbrook
valley to the south and Carding Mill valley to the north. The cross-dyke is
visible as a well defined linear bank of earth and stone construction,
orientated NNE to SSW. Positioned at the narrowest point of the ridge to
separate Burway Hill to the east from the main plateau of The Long Mynd to the
west, the earthworks stretch for some 140m, the ends resting upon the
precipitous slopes to the north and south. The monument includes two
separate areas.
Today the earthwork is cut roughly in half by the hill road from Church
Stretton to the Long Mynd summit and by the car park on the south side of this
road. Consequently the central 34m is no longer visible as a surface feature
but will survive below the car park as a buried feature. The road however
being terraced into the hillslope, will have destroyed the dyke where it
crosses its line. The southern portion of the dyke survives for some 80m south
of the car park and comprises a substantial bank up to 6m wide with flat
bottomed ditches to either side; the western ditch averaging 5m wide and up to
0.6m deep and the eastern 3m wide and 0.4m deep. The portion to the north of
the road is 65m long, averages 4m wide and stands 0.3m high on its east side,
0.9m on its west side where it is flanked by a ditch 3m wide and 0.2m deep. No
trace of any original passage through the dyke can be recognised, though this
may have been positioned in the central area now occupied by the modern
roadway. The structure is clearly not designed as a defence, being overlooked
from both sides, but rather functioned as a boundary marker delineating and
separating the land management of two areas of the hilltop during the Late
Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 4 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km
long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or
more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges
and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial
photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and
analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans
the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used
later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial
boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities,
although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or
defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which
illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of
considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the
Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well-
preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The cross-dyke at Devil's Mouth, despite being disturbed in its central area,
survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain important
evidence in the deposits within the bank and the ditch fill and environmental
evidence, relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed,
sealed beneath the bank on the old land surface. The monument is one of
several cross-dykes which occur in similar ridge top situations on the Long
Mynd and, which, when considered as a group, contribute valuable information
regarding the density of settlement and nature of land use on this area of
upland during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age periods.

Source: Historic England


Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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