Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015677

Date first listed: 28-Jan-1926

Date of most recent amendment: 26-Mar-1997


Ordnance survey map of Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Basingstoke and Deane (District Authority)

Parish: St. Mary Bourne

County: Hampshire

District: Test Valley (District Authority)

Parish: Smannell

National Grid Reference: SU 40080 47998


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

Reasons for Designation

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 as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks 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.

This section of Devil's Ditch within Pepper Hill Firs is a well preserved and visually impressive example of its class. The surviving earthworks will contain information about prehistoric economy and environment.


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


The monument includes a c.500m long section of the prehistoric linear boundary earthwork known as the Devil's Ditch, running north-south and marking the eastern boundary of Pepper Hill Firs to the south west of Lower Wyke Farm. This surviving section of earthwork is part of a more extensive complex of linear boundaries within the immediate area, the majority of which are no longer visible as earthworks but which survive as buried features visible on aerial photographs. On the edge of Pepper Hill Firs the earthwork includes a bank up to 1.2m high, the eastern edge of which has been buried under ploughwash and the overall width of which can be calculated as approximately 8m. On the west side of the bank is a ditch approximately 12m wide and 0.7m deep and beyond this a low counterscarp bank which varies from 4m to 6m in width and is up to 0.3m high. The form of the earthwork and its relationship to the complex of which it is a part to other landscape features suggest that it is of later prehistoric date. As a prominent landscape feature it has been utilised as the boundary between the parishes of Smannell and St Mary Bourne. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts and electricity supply poles although the ground beneath these features 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: 26791

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Corney, M, 'British Archaeological Reports British Series' in Multiple ditch systems and late Iron Age settlement in Wessex, , Vol. 209, (1989), 111-128

End of official listing