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Cross-dyke, field bank, ridge and furrow and hut structures 400m south of High Park House

A Scheduled Monument in All Stretton, Shropshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.566 / 52°33'57"N

Longitude: -2.822 / 2°49'19"W

OS Eastings: 344381.745203

OS Northings: 296779.465865

OS Grid: SO443967

Mapcode National: GBR BF.CHXR

Mapcode Global: WH8CC.MRFQ

Entry Name: Cross-dyke, field bank, ridge and furrow and hut structures 400m south of High Park House

Scheduled Date: 17 October 1930

Last Amended: 17 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009316

English Heritage Legacy ID: 19112

County: Shropshire

Civil Parish: All Stretton

Traditional County: Shropshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire

Church of England Parish: Church Stretton

Church of England Diocese: Hereford

Details

The monument includes a substantial cross-dyke, a linear bank, a sample of
ridge and furrow and two sub-circular features. The cross-dyke lies orientated
NNW to SSE crossing a broad roughly east to west ridge, ending on the edge of
a steep sided gully in the south and a somewhat more shallow gully in the
north. The earthwork is cut by a modern field boundary 130m from its north
end, the portion to the north being within enclosed sheep pasture, that to the
south in open moorland. As a result the survival characteristics of the two
sections of earthwork differ. The northern portion is visible as a substantial
earth and stone bank 142m long averaging 6m wide and 0.8m high, surmounted by
a modern hedge bank and hedge. This is cut at its southern end, immediately
north of the fence line, by a modern break 3m wide. Though there are no
surviving physical traces of a ditch alongside the bank, differential growth
in the grass cover on the west side suggests that a ditch does survive here as
a buried feature.
The larger portion of the dyke lies to the south of the enclosed land in open
moorland; here it includes a linear bank some 240m long, averaging 8m wide and
varying between 0.2m and 0.8m high on its east, downslope, side, 0.8m to 1.2m
high on its west, upslope, side. The bank is flanked along its west side by a
clearly visible ditch which averages 5m wide and 0.6m deep. This appears to be
a continuation of the buried ditch noted as a crop-mark in the northern
section of the earthwork. A second bank, 1.5m wide and 0.2m high, lies
parallel to the main embankment on the west side. It commences 4m south of the
modern field boundary and runs for some 68m south before fading out. From this
point a section of the ditch running roughly between 69m and 91m south of the
hedgeline appears to have been re-cut into the base of the main ditch, giving
an incised ditch 1m wide and 0.2m deep at the base of the embankment.
The southern portion of the cross-dyke is cut in three places: immediately
south of the field boundary a trackway 4m wide runs parallel to the edge of
the enclosed land, the track cutting through the bank and lying on a level
roughly at the bottom of the ditch. The double bank, strengthening the
cross-dyke defences at this point, suggests that this is the position of an
original entrance gap. A hill drain 2m wide cuts through the earthworks 51m
south of the field boundary and a second trackway cuts through both the bank
and ditch some 130m south of the hedgeline. The second trackway cutting is 2m
wide and incised 0.6m into the old land surface, below the base level of the
ditch. Though it appears modern, its position may also represent the original
location of an entrance gap through the earthworks. The cross-dyke would have
functioned as a boundary structure associated with a system of land management
during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.
To the east of the cross-dyke some 93m south from the hedgeline and running
roughly at right angles to the main dyke, a medieval field bank abuts onto
the earthwork. It runs east for some considerable distance averaging 2m wide,
0.2m high on its north side and 0.4m on its south side, where it is flanked by
a ditch 1m wide and 0.1m deep. The area to the north of this bank, between it
and the enclosed land, shows evidence of vestigial ridge and furrow; it lies
orientated east to west and averages 4m wide.
At the northern end of the section of earthwork, in open moorland, are two
sub-circular rubble walled features, the remains of small huts or animal
shelters. One is located on the alignment of the main ditch and overlies the
western bank; its south and west sides survive as a low rubble wall averaging
0.5m wide and 0.1m high abutted onto the main bank. The second lies 18m east
and 10m south of the hedgeline. It comprises a low rubble wall of similar
construction forming a small oval structure 7.4m east to west by 6m north to
south with walls 0.2m high on their external face, 0.1m high on their internal
face and is open on the south side.
All modern boundary features overlying the monument, and the water tank
building at SO44329694 are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground
beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

Despite some limited damage by trackways cutting through the monument, the
cross-dyke 400m south of High Park House survives well and is a good example
of its class. Throughout most of its length it remains intact and undisturbed
and will preserve both artefactual and structural archaeological evidence.
Environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was
constructed will survive sealed on the old land surface beneath the bank and
in the ditch fill. The other associated features (the abutting field bank,
ridge and furrow and sub-circular hut features) provide important information
relating to their stratigraphic relationship to each other and to the changing
land use of the site. The cross-dyke will permit an understanding of such
changes through time. The monument is the largest of several such cross-dyke
structures which occur in similar ridge top situations on the Long Mynd, often
in close association with other monuments both of the same period and later.
Considered in association it represents a fine example of a particularly
important group of monuments which contribute valuable information towards an
understanding of the type and intensity of settlement and the nature of land
use of this area of upland during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.

Source: Historic England

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