Pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

East Sussex
Wealden (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
TQ 43800 32070


Pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood, 143m south-east of Church Cottage.

Reasons for Designation

Rabbits were valuable animals in the medieval and post-medieval periods, which were used for their meat and fur. The mounds served as burrowing ground for the rabbits, which were caught by covering the mound with a net and introducing a polecat or ferret. Pillow mounds can be found singly or in groups and usually range from 6m to 150m long, although larger and smaller examples have been known. They are rarely more than 10m wide and most have transverse dimensions of between 4m and 6m. They are most common on sloping ground, situated at right angles to the contours.

The exact function of the semi-circular shaped earthwork is uncertain, however it is clear that it is very unusual in form and for this reason must be considered as of interest.

The pillow mound and earthwork in Northbank Wood, 143m south-east of Church Cottage survive well and will contain information relating to their original construction and function. The pillow mound is a significant remainder of medieval or post-medieval rabbit farming on Ashdown Forest.

The surrounding area has many archaeological features, which thereby enhance its significance. The monument has not been excavated and as such has a high degree of potential for further archaeological investigation.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 24 February 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a pillow mound, or artificial rabbit warren, and a semi-circular earthwork denoted by an internal bank and external ditch. It is situated on a south-facing slope near the summit of a ridge, south of Colemans Hatch Road in Ashdown Forest. The pillow mound is an earthen mound about 91m long, 9m wide and 1.2m high. There are traces of flanking ditches about 0.4m deep on the north-east and south-west sides. The semi-circular earthwork is located near the north end of the pillow mound. It includes an external ditch, about 37m across, which has an inner bank on the north side but is open on the south-east side. The interior is slightly raised above the surrounding ground level.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of this monument. Some such as a nearby hillfort, Roman villa and ironworks are scheduled, but others are not because they have not been formally assessed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
ES 397
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Williamson, T, The Archaeology of Rabbit Warrens, (2006)
East Sussex HER MES5178. NMR TQ43SW14. PastScape 407145.


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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