Part of a prehistoric field system on Codford Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016559

Date first listed: 12-Apr-1957

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Part of a prehistoric field system on Codford Down
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 13:19:35.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Codford

National Grid Reference: ST 97838 42836


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

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The lynchets on the southern slope of Codford Down survive well and represent the only unploughed sections of an extensive field system once covering at least 255ha and providing an important insight into agricultural practice and the intensity of land use in the later prehistoric period. Their association with a round barrow cemetery immediately to the south provides evidence for the respect later prehistoric communities paid to monuments of earlier date.


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


The monument includes part of what was once an extensive area of later prehistoric field of regular aggregate type, surviving in the form of three lynchets, on the south facing slope of Codford Down descending into the valley of the Chitterne Brook. The lynchets run from east to west across a small plantation. The lower lynchet is 250m long and 3m high. A break towards the centre is on the line of a modern track. The middle lynchet which is confined to the area of plantation, is 75m long and 4.5m high. At its west end it curves sharply to the south to line up with a small bank running north to south for a length of 10m. The upper lynchet is 210m long and 2.5m high at the eastern end. Towards the west the height of the lynchet decreases gradually until it is no longer visible. To the east of the plantation the lynchets have been reduced by cultivation but remain visible as cropmarks. To the west the lower and higher lynchets extend to form the northern and southern boundaries of a small field, the area between having been levelled by cultivation. To the south the extant and ploughed remains of this field system partly enclose and respect a barrow cemetery of slightly earlier date which is the subject of a separate scheduling. All fenceposts and cattle troughs are excluded from the scheduling, 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: 31668

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing