Cross dyke on Ragpit Hill, 230m ENE of Great Kimble church


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013933

Date first listed: 27-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Ragpit Hill, 230m ENE of Great Kimble church
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Buckinghamshire

District: Wycombe (District Authority)

Parish: Great and Little Kimble

National Grid Reference: SP 82755 06021


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.

Despite minor damge to the southern end, the cross dyke 230m ENE of Great Kimble church survives in very good condition. The form and composition of the bank will provide evidence for the method of construction, which may include traces of timber palisades erected along the top. The earlier ground surface buried beneath the bank is a particularly valuable resource, capable of providing information about prehistoric soil conditions and land use which will, together with the primary silts within the ditch, indicate the nature of the landscape in which the monument was set. The bank material and ditch fills may also contain artefacts from which the period of use can be determined and the function of the monument assessed. The proximity of a second cross dyke near the neck of the spur is considered to be of great interest as the relationship between the two sites will provide insights into the division of land and the nature of prehistoric settlement in the Chiltern Hills.


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


The monument includes the remains of a prehistoric univallate dyke situated near the tip of a narrow wooded spur extending westwards from the Chiltern escarpment between Happy Valley and The Coombes, at the foot of which lies the village of Great Kimble. The dyke is orientated north east to south west, and extends for c.70m between the upper slopes of the steep scarps on either side of the spur. Fragments of Iron Age pottery have been collected from the old chalk quarry at the end of the spur, from which the area receives its name of Ragpit Hill. The excavation of the quarry has truncated a small section at the southern end of the dyke which, it is thought, would have originally continued towards the 150m contour line at the brink of the steep natural slope into Happy Valley. The ditch averages 1.5m in width and 0.8m in depth, and lies at the foot of a artificial scarp, 3m-4m in width, which is cut into the hillside at an angle of approximately 45 degrees. The ditch is flanked on the eastern, downhill side by an earthen bank measuring c.5m across and 1.3m high. The dyke is breached by a single causeway near the centre of the spur. This is approximately 4m in width and is thought to be comparatively recent in date. It is also crossed, further to the north, by a small medieval or post-medieval boundary bank. A second, similar cross dyke (the subject of a separate scheduling), runs parallel to this feature, transecting the neck of the spur some 250m to the east.

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: 27129

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Royal Commission on Historical Monuments, , An Inventory of Historic Monuments in Buckinghamshire, (1912), 164
Dyer, J, 'Discovering Regional Archaeology' in Discovering Regional Archaeology: Eastern England, (1969), 9
Ordnance Survey Record Card, ASP, SP 80 NW 7, (1972)
Ordnance Survey record card, ASP, SU 80 NW 7, (1972)
Quotes S.Frere's opinion about site, Gowling, C N, 0931: Correspondance with Ordnance Survey, (1964)
Records of reported finds, 0931,
Title: Southern Britain in the Iron Age Source Date: 1962 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing