Cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill, 740m north of Brow Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007699

Date first listed: 13-Jul-1994


Ordnance survey map of Cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill, 740m north of Brow Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ratlinghope

National Grid Reference: SO 40355 97520


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

The cross-dyke on Ratlinghope Hill survives well and is a fine example of its class. It remains largely undisturbed and will retain archaeological material and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed and the economy of the society that built it. It is one of a complex of associated monuments occupying the hilltop and, as such, contributes information relating to the land use and settlement pattern of this area of upland during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a cross-dyke situated on a narrow north east to south west orientated spur between Stitt Hill and Ratlinghope Hill. The cross- dyke cuts at right angles across the spur to separate the south western tip of the spur from the main plateau to the north east. It comprises a well defined linear bank 60m long and 7m wide standing up to 0.8m high. This is flanked on its north east side by a ditch, 4m wide and 0.7m deep, from which material for the bank was quarried. The earthwork is cut 9m from its northern end by a terraced trackway, the end of the bank remaining traceable to the north of this cut, before it tails out on the steepening hillslope. A similar terraced way truncates the dyke at its southern end. The earthwork is part of a complex of cross-dykes and enclosures occupying the hilltop which are believed to date from the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. Although their function is uncertain it is believed they were used by inhabitants to manage stock and control the grazing of the hilltop. All boundary features crossing the earthwork towards its north and south ends are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath both 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.


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

Legacy System number: 19127

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Guilbert, G, 'BBCS' in BBCS, , Vol. XXVI, (1975), 368

End of official listing