Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016689

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Okeford Fitzpaine

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Shillingstone

National Grid Reference: ST 81685 09579


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 Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House 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.


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


The monument includes a cross dyke, 1km south west of Broughton House, curving across a north east facing spur. It is one of four similar sites situated on the edge of the plateau, possibly associated with the broadly contemporary settlement and fields at Ringmoor 1.5km to the south. These other sites are the subject of separate schedulings. The dyke has a bank approximately 10m wide and up to 1.8m high, with, on its southern side, a ditch 9m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The bank and ditch is most substantial on the crest of the spur becoming slighter down the slopes on each side. The line of the earthwork kinks towards its eastern end where a gap in the bank and a causeway across the ditch suggests an entrance which is possibly not orignal. The parish boundary between Okeford Ftizpaine and Shillingstone passes through this gap. Celtic fields have been identified on both sides of the dyke and the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England recorded that one of the lynchets is crossed by its bank and cut by its ditch. These fields, no longer clearly visible on the surface, are not well understood and are not included in the scheduling. All fence posts 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: 31066

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing