Post-medieval stock enclosure at Devil's Dyke
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014954
Date first listed: 07-Oct-1925
Date of most recent amendment: 18-Oct-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: West Sussex
District: Mid Sussex (District Authority)
National Park: SOUTH DOWNS
National Grid Reference: TQ 26574 11237
Reasons for Designation
Stock enclosures of medieval and later date provided winter shelter and
corralling for beasts ranging over open pasture. In south east England, they
are to be found in relatively remote regions located some distance from the
farmstead with which they were associated. They vary in size and shape and
reflect local building techniques, styles and materials. They usually survive
as a level area surrounded by low banks flanked by construction ditches. Some
enclosures would have been further protected by timber fences and gates and
smaller examples may have been roofed. Surviving largely in downland areas of
less intensive modern land use, medieval and post-medieval stock enclosures
provide evidence for pastoral practices in south east England which have left
few other traces in the landscape. As a relatively rare monument type, those
examples which survive well as upstanding monuments and/or which are
documented by part excavation or contemporary records, are considered to merit
The post-medieval stock enclosure at Devil's Dyke survives comparatively well, despite some modern disturbance, and part excavation has shown it to contain archaeological remains relating to its construction and use.
The monument includes a post-medieval stock enclosure situated at the bottom
of Devil's Dyke, the largest dry chalk coomb in Britain, which forms part of
the Sussex Downs. The enclosure survives as a north east-south west aligned,
rectangular earthwork measuring c.44m by c.18m, defined at each end by a bank
c.4m wide and up to 1m high. The banks are flanked by an outer ditch c.6m wide
and c.0.5m deep. Along the north western side is a low bank c.2m wide. Part
excavation in 1908 confirmed the identification of the monument, known locally
as Giant's Graves and previously assumed to be a burial mound. The enclosure
was used for the stalling of working oxen and as winter housing for fatstock
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: 27081
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Toms, H S, 'Brighton and Hove Archaeologist' in Valley Entrenchments West of the Ditchling Road, , Vol. 2, (1924), 69-72
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