Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs

A Scheduled Monument in St. Mary Bourne, Hampshire

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Latitude: 51.2297 / 51°13'46"N

Longitude: -1.4273 / 1°25'38"W

OS Eastings: 440082.481421

OS Northings: 147987.742904

OS Grid: SU400479

Mapcode National: GBR 72F.ZXR

Mapcode Global: VHC2T.6CS5

Entry Name: Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs

Scheduled Date: 28 January 1926

Last Amended: 26 March 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015677

English Heritage Legacy ID: 26791

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: St. Mary Bourne

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire

Church of England Parish: Smannell with Enham Alamein

Church of England Diocese: Winchester


The monument includes a c.500m long section of the prehistoric linear boundary
earthwork known as the Devil's Ditch, running north-south and marking the
eastern boundary of Pepper Hill Firs to the south west of Lower Wyke Farm.
This surviving section of earthwork is part of a more extensive complex of
linear boundaries within the immediate area, the majority of which are no
longer visible as earthworks but which survive as buried features visible
on aerial photographs.
On the edge of Pepper Hill Firs the earthwork includes a bank up to 1.2m high,
the eastern edge of which has been buried under ploughwash and the overall
width of which can be calculated as approximately 8m. On the west side of the
bank is a ditch approximately 12m wide and 0.7m deep and beyond this a low
counterscarp bank which varies from 4m to 6m in width and is up to 0.3m high.
The form of the earthwork and its relationship to the complex of which it is a
part to other landscape features suggest that it is of later prehistoric date.
As a prominent landscape feature it has been utilised as the boundary between
the parishes of Smannell and St Mary Bourne.
Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and electricity supply poles
although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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 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 spans the 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 in the Bronze Age; all well
preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

This section of Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs is a well preserved
and visually impressive example of its class. The surviving earthworks will
contain information about prehistoric economy and environment.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Corney, M, 'British Archaeological Reports British Series' in Multiple ditch systems and late Iron Age settlement in Wessex, , Vol. 209, (1989), 111-128

Source: Historic England

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