Cross dyke and bowl barrow on Bell Hill 690m north east of Baker's Folly


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke and bowl barrow on Bell Hill 690m north east of Baker's Folly
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2019 at 06:00:23.


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

North Dorset (District Authority)
North Dorset (District Authority)
Okeford Fitzpaine
National Grid Reference:
ST 79682 07996

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 Bell Hill 690m north east of Baker's Folly is a well preserved example of its class and will contain archaeological remains providing information about later prehistoric land use and environment. This is one of several similar cross dykes around a contemporary settlement providing an unusual and significant association.


The monument includes a cross ridge dyke 690m north east of Baker's Folly running north west-south east across a spur of Bell Hill, on a gentle south western facing slope. It is one of four similar sites situated on the edge of the plateau, possibly associated with the broadly contemporary settlement at Ringmoor 1.5km to the north east. These other sites are the subject of separate for schedulings. The cross dyke has a bank, 8m wide and 1.2m high, with a ditch on its northern side, 8m wide and approximately 1m deep. There is a slight bank on the outer edge of the ditch, 1.5m wide and 0.3m high, visible along much of the length of the earthwork. The dyke has been truncated by the modern ridgeway track at a point where it kinks and changes direction slightly. It has been suggested that this deviation in the alignment may be due to the presence of a burial mound, much mutilated and now no longer identifiable on the surface, but recorded by the Ordnance Survey in 1955 as being 10m in diameter and 0.6m high, adjacent to the southern edge of the dyke. The Royal Commission on Historical Monuments of England suggested that there may have been an original entrance through the earthwork at this point. Part of the parish boundary bank between Okeford Fitzpaine and Ibberton runs along the bottom of the ditch at the north western end of the dyke. This survives to 1.8m wide and 0.3m high. The cross dyke lies within a prehistoric field system which has been reduced in height by ploughing in the vicinity of the monument. This is not included in the scheduling. All fence posts and the surface of the track 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.

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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

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