Ancient cultivation terraces
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1005608
Date first listed: 14-Sep-1955
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: SU 10919 36497
Part of a regular aggregate field system 1215m north west of Woodford Mill.
Reasons for Designation
Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. The part of a regular aggregate field system 1215m north west of Woodford Mill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, land use, agricultural practices, the social and territorial significance of the enclosure of land, adaptive re-use and its overall landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 September 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.
This monument includes part of a regular aggregate field system situated on the steep northern side of a dry valley called Church Bottom at the foot of the prominent Heale Hill. The field system survives differentially as a series of lynchets, some very pronounced at up to 3m high, low boundary banks and crop and soil marks visible on aerial photographs which define an extensive series of rectangular fields which vary in size from approximately 60m by 40m up to 100m by 90m with the axes of the field boundaries at right angles to one another. Some fields have ridge and furrow which indicates medieval re-use of the earlier prehistoric field system which dates back as far as the Bronze Age.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity, some are scheduled separately but others including further sections of the field system are not included because they have not been formally assessed.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: WI 383
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
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