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


Ordnance survey map of Post-medieval stock enclosure at Devil's Dyke
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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)

Parish: Poynings

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 protection.

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 cattle.

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

End of official listing