Cross-dyke at Devil's Mouth, west of Burway Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
Church Stretton
National Grid Reference:
SO 43966 94232, SO 43993 94320

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 at Devil's Mouth, despite being disturbed in its central area, survives well and is a good example of its class. It will retain important evidence in the deposits within the bank and the ditch fill and environmental evidence, relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed, sealed beneath the bank on the old land surface. The monument is one of several cross-dykes which occur in similar ridge top situations on the Long Mynd and, which, when considered as a group, contribute valuable information regarding the density of settlement and nature of land use on this area of upland during the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age periods.


The monument includes a bivallate cross-dyke situated at Devil's Mouth, the narrow neck of a roughly east to west orientated spur separating Townbrook valley to the south and Carding Mill valley to the north. The cross-dyke is visible as a well defined linear bank of earth and stone construction, orientated NNE to SSW. Positioned at the narrowest point of the ridge to separate Burway Hill to the east from the main plateau of The Long Mynd to the west, the earthworks stretch for some 140m, the ends resting upon the precipitous slopes to the north and south. The monument includes two separate areas. Today the earthwork is cut roughly in half by the hill road from Church Stretton to the Long Mynd summit and by the car park on the south side of this road. Consequently the central 34m is no longer visible as a surface feature but will survive below the car park as a buried feature. The road however being terraced into the hillslope, will have destroyed the dyke where it crosses its line. The southern portion of the dyke survives for some 80m south of the car park and comprises a substantial bank up to 6m wide with flat bottomed ditches to either side; the western ditch averaging 5m wide and up to 0.6m deep and the eastern 3m wide and 0.4m deep. The portion to the north of the road is 65m long, averages 4m wide and stands 0.3m high on its east side, 0.9m on its west side where it is flanked by a ditch 3m wide and 0.2m deep. No trace of any original passage through the dyke can be recognised, though this may have been positioned in the central area now occupied by the modern roadway. The structure is clearly not designed as a defence, being overlooked from both sides, but rather functioned as a boundary marker delineating and separating the land management of two areas of the hilltop during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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:
Legacy System:


Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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