Harepit Way linear boundary


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014559

Date first listed: 20-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Harepit Way linear boundary
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Avebury

National Grid Reference: SU 07788 68819


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

Reasons for Designation

A small number of areas in southern England appear to have acted as foci for ceremonial and ritual activity during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Age periods. Two of the best known and earliest recognised, with references in the 17th century, are around Avebury and Stonehenge, now jointly designated as a World Heritage Site. In the Avebury area, the henge monument itself, the West Kennet Avenue, the Sanctuary, West Kennet long barrow, Windmill Hill causewayed enclosure and the enigmatic Silbury Hill are well-known. Whilst the other Neolithic long barrows, the many Bronze Age round barrows and other associated sites are less well-known, together they define one of the richest and most varied areas of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial and ritual monuments in the country.

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millenium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been reused later. They are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. All well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection. The linear boundary known as the Harepit Way survives as a highly visible landscape feature and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction and the landscape in which it was built.


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


The monument includes a 346m long section of a linear boundary, marking prehistoric land division. It runs from NNW-SSE across a south facing slope on West Down. The monument appears as a pair of parallel banks with a central ditch. The ditch is 5m wide and up to 1.5m deep. Although this has become partly infilled in places it can clearly be seen as an open feature along the whole of this section. To either side of the ditch the two banks are c.3m wide and 0.3m high. They have been reduced by cultivation and may originally have stood 0.5m or more in height. The earthwork would originally have formed part of a Bronze Age ranch boundary, as part of a wider system of land division including other ditches which survive in places on the Downs. This section was later used as a medieval trackway and it has been known by the name of Harepit Way for at least 250 years.

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: 28113

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, LV, 'A History of Wiltshire' in A History of Wiltshire, , Vol. 1,1, (1957), 251
SU 06 NE 134, R.C.H.M.(E), Harepit Way, (1973)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Series Source Date: 1982 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SU 06 NE

End of official listing