Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cross dyke and field banks in Peaks Wood 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Baydon, Wiltshire

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Latitude: 51.5086 / 51°30'30"N

Longitude: -1.6259 / 1°37'33"W

OS Eastings: 426057.518361

OS Northings: 178918.820922

OS Grid: SU260789

Mapcode National: GBR 5XK.9RZ

Mapcode Global: VHC1B.RBTV

Entry Name: Cross dyke and field banks in Peaks Wood 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages

Scheduled Date: 9 November 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019191

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33956

County: Wiltshire

Civil Parish: Baydon

Traditional County: Wiltshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Wiltshire


The monument includes a cross dyke and a series of field banks at Peaks Wood,
on the upper south western slopes of a chalk ridge known as Peaks Downs,
overlooking Wanborough Plain.

The cross dyke consists of a chalk-cut ditch a maximum of 3m in width and 1.3m
in depth which runs for approximately 220m on a north east to south west axis
down the valley side. A slight bank running along the edge of the northern
side is thought to be a modern feature. Three roughly parallel banks 160m in
length run south from the south western half of the cross dyke and represent
the remains of an associated enclosure or field system. The banks, which are
up to 1.5m in width and 0.4m in height are joined at their southern ends by a
further bank running north east to south west.

The cross dyke was first mentioned by Richard Colt-Hoare in 1819 in
conjunction with a disc barrow to the north west which is the subject of a
separate scheduling.

All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them
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

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 remains of the cross dyke and associated field banks in Peaks Wood, 210m
east of Hellscomb Cottages, survive well as a substantial earthwork. The
survival of deposits relating to the construction and use of the monument is
likely to be good. These deposits will contain important information about the
dating of the dyke and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in
which it was constructed.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Colt-Hoare, R, History of Ancient Wiltshire, (1819), 36
Ordnance Survey, NMR: SU 27 NE 22,
Ordnance Survey, NMR: SU 27 NE 619, (1973)
Wiltshire County Council, 1:10000 Vertical, (1991)
Wiltshire County Council, SU27 NE619,

Source: Historic England

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