Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 880m south east of Hartcliff Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016690

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 880m south east of Hartcliff Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 15:23:04.


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

National Grid Reference: ST 81134 09702


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 880m south east of Hartcliff Farm will contain archaeological remains providing information about later prehistoric land use and environment. This is one of several 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 on Okeford Hill 880m south east of Hartcliffe Farm, crossing a north facing spur from WSW to ENE. It is one of four dykes 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 cross dyke runs from close to the edge of the coombe in the east to a hollow way, marking a previous track, just below the crest of the spur in the west. It has been reduced in height by past ploughing and is visible as a low earthwork at its eastern end. Further west it is no longer visible on the surface except at the field boundaries where it can be seen in profile. It has a bank up to 8m wide and 0.5m high, with, on its southern side, a ditch, visible as a slight depression up to 4m wide and 0.3m deep. Celtic fields have been identified on both sides of the cross dyke but, as they are no longer clearly visible on the surface in the vicinity of the monument, they are not included in the scheduling. All fence posts and the road surface 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: 31067

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing