Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke on Beeding Hill, 1100m north west of New Erringham Farm Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Upper Beeding, West Sussex

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Latitude: 50.8691 / 50°52'8"N

Longitude: -0.2854 / 0°17'7"W

OS Eastings: 520743.959975

OS Northings: 109132.163558

OS Grid: TQ207091

Mapcode National: GBR HM1.DN0

Mapcode Global: FRA B69S.SR2

Entry Name: Cross dyke on Beeding Hill, 1100m north west of New Erringham Farm Cottages

Scheduled Date: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018567

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31216

County: West Sussex

Civil Parish: Upper Beeding

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Sussex

Church of England Parish: Beeding St Peter and Bramber St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Chichester


The monument includes part of a roughly north west-south east aligned cross
dyke constructed across a chalk spur which projects to the west from Beeding
Hill, part of the Sussex Downs.
The 76m long earthwork originally extended for a further 150m to the south,
but this section has been destroyed by 20th century chalk quarrying and is
therefore not included in the scheduling. Investigations in 1976, in advance
of quarrying, revealed that the earthwork has a ditch up to 4.5m wide, which
survives up to a depth of 1.4m below ground. The ditch is flanked to the west
by a bank up to about 7m wide and 0.4m high. Finds recovered during the
excavations included fragments of Early Iron Age pottery. To the north, the
earthworks gradually fade out as the ground falls away.
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.

The cross dyke on Beeding Hill survives comparatively well, despite some later
disturbance. It is known from excavation to contain important archaeological
and environmental information relating to the construction and original use of
the monument, providing evidence for the division of land in this area of
downland during the later prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bedwin, O, 'Sussex Archaeological Collections' in The Excavation of a Cross-Dyke at Old Erringham Farm, , Vol. 117, (1979), 11-19

Source: Historic England

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