Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke on Heathbarn Down, 520m south east of Lodge Hill Farm

A Scheduled Monument in West Dean, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.91 / 50°54'36"N

Longitude: -0.7946 / 0°47'40"W

OS Eastings: 484839.609816

OS Northings: 112975.692878

OS Grid: SU848129

Mapcode National: GBR DFS.XK9

Mapcode Global: FRA 967P.L8Q

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Heathbarn Down, 520m south east of Lodge Hill Farm

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018058

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31206

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: West Dean

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: East Dean, Singleton and West Dean

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes the eastern part of an east-west aligned cross dyke
constructed across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The
approximately 40m long earthwork consists of a ditch up to 8m wide and 0.8m
deep flanked to the north by a bank up to 6m wide and 0.4m high. To the east,
the earthworks gradually fade out on the gently sloping ground. The cross dyke
originally continued for a further 70m across the ridge to the west of the
monument, but the earthworks here have been levelled and significantly
disturbed by modern ploughing and this area is not included in the scheduling.
The modern fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath it is included.

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

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.

Although it has been partly disturbed by modern ploughing and tree growth, the
cross dyke on Heathbarn Down survives comparatively well and will retain
archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the construction
and original function of the monument.

Source: Historic England

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