Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Lynchets at Southmill Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Amesbury, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.1662 / 51°9'58"N

Longitude: -1.7735 / 1°46'24"W

OS Eastings: 415929.886785

OS Northings: 140801.828548

OS Grid: SU159408

Mapcode National: GBR 503.VV1

Mapcode Global: VHB5C.6YRB

Entry Name: Lynchets at Southmill Hill

Scheduled Date: 19 March 1976

Last Amended: 13 November 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015220

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28941

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Amesbury

Built-Up Area: Amesbury

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire

Church of England Parish: Amesbury St Mary and St Melor

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a flight of four strip lynchets lying across the north
west facing slope of Southmill Hill, immediately north east of the A345
Salisbury to Amesbury road. The lynchets are medieval in date and are the
result of deliberate terracing of the steep hillslope for cultivation.
They survive as wide terraces up to 15m wide cut into the slope and separated
by steep sections of bank which range in height from 2m to 5.5m. The
northernmost lynchet survives to the greater height, declining gradually to
the southernmost lynchet which is the lowest in height. The remains of a
further lynchet to the south east of the monument have been levelled by
cultivation and are not included within the scheduling.
All fence posts and cattle troughs are excluded from the scheduling although
the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The most complete and extensive survival of chalk downland archaeological
remains in central southern England occurs on Salisbury Plain. These remains
represent one of the few extant archaeological `landscapes' in Britain and are
considered to be of special significance because they differ in character from
those other areas with comparable levels of preservation. Individual sites on
Salisbury Plain are seen as being additionally important because the evidence
of their direct association with each other survives so well. Lynchets provide
distinctive traces of medieval and earlier agricultural activities in downland
areas, indicating the level of intensity of land use and farming practices
through time.
The four lynchets on Southmill Hill survive well and are a prominent landscape
feature on the periphery of the town of Amesbury. In addition, they will
contain archaeological deposits providing evidence for the economy and
environment during the medieval period.

Source: Historic England

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