Cross dyke on Springhead Hill, 780m south of Springhead Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015723

Date first listed: 10-Jul-1997


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Springhead Hill, 780m south of Springhead Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 20:22:28.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Horsham (District Authority)

Parish: Parham

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 06119 12504, TQ 06140 12597


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

Reasons for Designation

Cross dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km and 1km long and comprising one or more ditches arranged beside and parallel to one or more banks. They generally occur in upland situations, running across ridges and spurs. They are recognised as earthworks or as cropmarks on aerial photographs, or as combinations of both. The evidence of excavation and analogy with associated monuments demonstrates that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. Current information favours the view that they were used as territorial boundary markers, probably demarcating land allotment within communities, although they may also have been used as trackways, cattle droveways or defensive earthworks. Cross dykes are one of the few monument types which illustrate how land was divided up in the prehistoric period. They are of considerable importance for any analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age. Very few have survived to the present day and hence all well- preserved examples are considered to be of national importance.

The cross dyke on Springhead Hill survives comparatively well, despite some subsequent disturbance, and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cross dyke forms part of a dispersed group of broadly contemporary monuments situated along the ridge, providing important evidence for the relationship between burial pratices, settlement and land division in this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.


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


The monument, which falls into two separate areas, includes a NNE-SSW aligned cross dyke constructed across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The c.150m long cross dyke has a ditch up to c.7m wide and 0.5m deep, flanked to the east by a bank up to c.4m wide and 0.75m high. A short stretch of the central section of the earthworks has been levelled by long-term use of the long distance route which runs along the ridge, although the ditch will survive here as a buried feature. Towards the northern end of the dyke, a c.43m long section of the earthworks has been completely levelled and any surviving buried features disturbed by past modern ploughing, and this area is therefore not included in the scheduling. Towards the south, the cross dyke coincides with the western edge of a modern plantation, and a now largely tumbled flint boundary wall has been built along the bank. The earthworks gradually fade out here on the gently sloping ground. The northern end of the dyke is formed by a more sharply defined and elaborate terminal, with a second, short length of bank flanking the western side of the round-ended ditch. The modern fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 29259

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing