Ancient Monuments

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Field system on Brading Down

A Scheduled Monument in Brading, Isle of Wight

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Latitude: 50.6781 / 50°40'41"N

Longitude: -1.1567 / 1°9'24"W

OS Eastings: 459679.32833

OS Northings: 86829.720934

OS Grid: SZ596868

Mapcode National: GBR 9D7.GC1

Mapcode Global: FRA 87G8.WR0

Entry Name: Field system on Brading Down

Scheduled Date: 3 January 1999

Last Amended: 6 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016721

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30279

County: Isle of Wight

Civil Parish: Brading

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Isle of Wight

Church of England Parish: Brading St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Portsmouth


The monument includes a field system of prehistoric or Romano-British origin
located on Brading Down, a chalk scarp overlooking the floodplain of the River
Yar. The field system extends for approximately 800m across the south and
south east facing slopes of the Down and follows a NNE to SSW alignment,
generally orientated at right angles to the slope. Individual fields vary in
shape and include both long, narrow rectangular enclosures and smaller square
examples which range from 0.08ha to 0.7ha in area. The field boundaries are
represented by well preserved lynchets up to 2m in height and 2m in width.
All fences, gates, seats and the modern surfaces of all tracks and pathways
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features
is included.
The area of the covered reservoir is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the
end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and
comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction,
with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one
another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can
be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The
field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves,
orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and
lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to
most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or
farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been
identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the
field system.
The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for
land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought
to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common
occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation
may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate
field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south
eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and
South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often
utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information
about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and
broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several
centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to
associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The field system on Brading Down survives well as a series of substantial
earthworks which will retain archaeological and environmental deposits
relating to their construction and use. The use of the monument for
recreational purposes gives it added significance as a public amenity.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Basford, F, The Field System on Brading Down, Isle of Wight, (1988)
Moss, E., AM107, (1994)
Title: Plan of 'Celtic' fields on Brading Down, Isle of Wight
Source Date: 1969

Source: Historic England

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