Linear boundary called the Giant's Hedge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Veep
National Grid Reference:
SX 14499 57080, SX 15434 56921, SX 16093 57124, SX 17149 57451, SX 18022 57379, SX 18589 57329, SX 18972 56951

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over varying distances of less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The earliest examples date to the Middle Bronze Age and many apparently later boundaries may re-use these early examples, some date to the Roman period, others are Anglo Saxon and still more of medieval origin. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use and social organisation. The linear boundary called the Giant's Hedge survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, date, function, social organisation, ritual, economic, political and defensive significance and overall landscape context. Its immortalisation in a popular local poem reflects its continuity as a feature in the landscape and adds to its interest.


The monument, which falls into seven areas, includes parts of a linear boundary extending between the settlements of Looe to the south east and Lerryn to the west. The linear boundary originally would have measured approximately 15km in length, of which 3km does not survive and 2.8km is protected in differing-sized sections. The survival of the linear boundary is variable, being visible as as a ditch cut into the hillside with a bank to the south; as a scarp where the ditch has been silted and the bank rather flattened; or as a bank with a backfilled ditch. At its best preserved, the bank is approximately 3.5m wide and up to 2m high whilst the ditch measures 3m wide and up to 0.8m deep. The whole follows a sinuous course hugging, wherever possible, the position just below the crest of the hillside. It passes through four different parishes and appears to have been constructed to defend the area between the Rivers Looe and Fowey. Although Borlase in the mid-18th century considered it to be a Roman road, it is now believed to be a pre-Norman boundary. Traditionally it is recorded in a local poem 'One day, the Devil, having nothing to do, built a great hedge from Lerryn to Looe'.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-


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

Legacy System number:
CO 104
Legacy System:


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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