Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn

A Scheduled Monument in Compton Abbas, Dorset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.9681 / 50°58'5"N

Longitude: -2.1419 / 2°8'30"W

OS Eastings: 390131.143769

OS Northings: 118750.163562

OS Grid: ST901187

Mapcode National: GBR 1Y4.C8Z

Mapcode Global: FRA 66DK.9C2

Entry Name: Cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn

Scheduled Date: 1 June 1961

Last Amended: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020610

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33568

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Compton Abbas

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Ashmore St Nicholas

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury

Details

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes
two sections of a cross ridge dyke running approximately north-south
across a ridge on an escarpment, north and south of Hatts Barn on
Cranborne Chase. It is one of five similar monuments at the end of this
escarpment, all of which are the subject of separate schedulings. The
southern end of the cross dyke has a ditch up to 5m wide and 0.6m deep.
There is no sign of a bank at this point, but lynchets have built up on
the edges of the ditch accentuating its profile. The ditch might join with
the northern section of the cross ridge dyke, but the intervening area is
buried under the garden of the house at Hatts Barn Farm which has been
built up to make it level. As it cannot be verified, the intervening area
is not included within the scheduling.
The northern section of cross ridge dyke includes a ditch, which runs
north east for a short length, before turning 45 degrees and then running
north. North of the corner the earthwork becomes more pronounced with the
addition of banks. The ditch widens out to a maximum of 9m wide and up to
2m deep with a bank on its western edge, 8m wide and up to 0.7m high, and
a counterscarp bank on its eastern edge, about 3m wide and 0.4m high. At
the northern end of the monument there is a second bank 7m wide and up to
0.5m high on the western side of the ditch, with a maximum gap of 5.6m
between the two banks. This bank is not quite parallel to the inner bank
and appears to converge slightly on the ditch before petering out before
the corner to the south. Heywood Sumner, writing in 1913, suggested that
the ditch continued, without banks, to the north and stopped at the edge
of the steep slope above a combe. This is no longer visible and cannot be
verified either on the ground or on aerial photographs and this section is
not therefore included in the scheduling.
All fence and gate posts, water troughs, reservoirs and service pipes are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features
is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number,
density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare
combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the
largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known
cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of
henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important
remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and
linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the
Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of
archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase.
Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times,
and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from
associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique
archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over
the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work
on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward
Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology.
Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century
and to the present day.
Cross ridge dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between
0.2km long and 1km long, 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 a combination 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 reused 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 ridge dykes occur across Cranborne Chase and 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 examples have
survived to the present day nationally and all well-preserved examples are
considered to be of national importance. The number of well-preserved
examples within Cranborne Chase is particularly notable.


The cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn is a
well-preserved example of its class. It will contain archaeological
remains providing information relating to later prehistoric land use and
the environment. It is one of five similar monuments at the end of this
escarpment providing an unusual association.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 66

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.