Field system on Brading Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016721

Date first listed: 03-Jan-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Field system on Brading Down
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Jan-2019 at 18:50:08.


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

District: Isle of Wight (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Brading

National Grid Reference: SZ 59704 86819


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 field system on Brading Down survives well as a series of substantial earthworks which will retain archaeological and environmental deposits relating to their construction and use. The use of the monument for recreational purposes gives it added significance as a public amenity.


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


The monument includes a field system of prehistoric or Romano-British origin located on Brading Down, a chalk scarp overlooking the floodplain of the River Yar. The field system extends for approximately 800m across the south and south east facing slopes of the Down and follows a NNE to SSW alignment, generally orientated at right angles to the slope. Individual fields vary in shape and include both long, narrow rectangular enclosures and smaller square examples which range from 0.08ha to 0.7ha in area. The field boundaries are represented by well preserved lynchets up to 2m in height and 2m in width. All fences, gates, seats and the modern surfaces of all tracks and pathways are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. The area of the covered reservoir is totally excluded from the scheduling.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 30279

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Basford, F, The Field System on Brading Down, Isle of Wight, (1988)
Moss, E., AM107, (1994)
Title: Plan of 'Celtic' fields on Brading Down, Isle of Wight Source Date: 1969 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing