Enclosure on Horton Down


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


Ordnance survey map of Enclosure on Horton Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Bishops Cannings
National Grid Reference:
SU 07765 66075

Reasons for Designation

Earthen enclosures provide evidence of land use and agricultural practices in the prehistoric and Romano-British period, although later examples are also known. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to provide temporary accommodation for stock, farmers or herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may vary considerably depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and their relationship to other monument classes, including extensive field systems, provide information on the diversity and social organisation and farming practices through the period of their use. Twelve examples are recorded in the Avebury area, which acted as a focus for ceremonial and ritual activity during at least the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Later the area was settled mostly by agricultural communities, with the area intensively farmed through to the medieval period and beyond. The enclosures in the Avebury area are central to understanding the character of this development. All surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite the interior having been cultivated, the enclosure on Horton Down survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


The monument includes a rectangular earthwork enclosure situated in the middle of Horton Down. The enclosure measures c.144m east-west and c.103m north-south. It is surrounded by a bank which measures 4m wide and stands 0.7m high. Beyond this lies a 3m wide ditch which, although partly infilled, is open to a depth of 0.4m. A 3m wide break in the bank and ditch, located in the middle of the south side, is believed to be original. Other gaps in the north and east sides are known to be modern. It is known from earlier records that the banks originally stood 1.2m or more in height while the ditch was at least 1m deep. Excluded from the scheduling is the post and wire fence which surrounds the monument, although the land beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1.1, (1957), 262
Crawford, O G S and Keiller, A, Wessex from the Air, (1928)
SU 06 NE 28, R.C.H.M.(E), Rectangular earthwork on Horton Down, (1973)
SU 06 NE 42, R.C.H.M.(E), Rectangular earthwork on Morgans Hill, (1973)
SU06NE 790, C.A.O., Rectangular earthwork enclosing 3 acres, (1979)


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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