Cross ridge dykes on Sutton Down


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.

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 95372 13850, SU 95534 13473, SU 95781 13211


Two cross ridge dykes on Sutton Down, 1.4km ESE of Upwaltham Farm.

Reasons for Designation

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.

Despite some disturbance by agricultural activity, quarry and erosion from the use of the South Downs Way, the two cross ridge dykes, 1.4km ESE of Upwaltham Farm survive comparatively well. They will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction, original purpose, and the landscape in which they were built. The cross dykes form part of a group of linear earthworks and round barrows which cluster along this part of the downland ridge. These monuments are broadly contemporary and their close association will provide evidence for the relationship between land division and funerary practices during the later prehistoric period.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 November 2014. The 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 two cross ridge dykes, aligned north-east to south-west, surviving as earthworks and below-ground archaeological remains. They are situated across a saddle of chalk downland, which projects north-west from a ridge of the South Downs.

The northernmost cross dyke is about 234m long with a ditch, up to about 5m wide and 0.5m deep, flanked to the north-west by a bank, up to about 5m wide and 0.2m high. Two short sections of these earthworks have been levelled by a modern track and a path which cross the monument, and regular modern ploughing has levelled the north-eastern end of the ditch. The ditch will survive in these sections as an infilled, buried feature. To the south-west, the earthworks gradually diminish as the ground slopes away. The cross dyke originally continued beyond the area of protection across the saddle to the north east, but the earthworks have here been destroyed by post-medieval chalk quarrying and this area is therefore not included in the scheduling. The second cross dyke is about 370m to the south-east. It is about 400m long with a central bank, up to 8m wide and 1.4m high, flanked on each side by a ditch. The south-eastern ditch survives as a visible feature up to about 8m wide and 1m deep. Regular modern ploughing has partly infilled the north western ditch, and it mainly survives as a buried feature up to 5m wide. An original entrance, 3m wide, through the cross dyke has been identified about 150m from the south-western end. A short section of the central part of the earthworks has been levelled by long term use of the South Downs Way, which runs along the saddle and crosses the monument at this point. The earthworks gradually fade out at either end of the monument as the ground falls away.


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

Legacy System number:
WS 186
Legacy System:


NMR SU91SE9, SU91SE10. PastScape 249501, 249504. Proposed MPP 29292, 29293.


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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