Linear boundary on Stoke Down, 800m north of West Stoke House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Linear boundary on Stoke Down, 800m north of West Stoke House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Oct-2019 at 19:42:55.


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

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 82586 09517

Reasons for Designation

Linear boundaries are substantial earthwork features comprising single or multiple ditches and banks which may extend over distances varying between less than 1km to over 10km. They survive as earthworks or as linear features visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs or as a combination of both. The evidence of excavation and study of associated monuments demonstrate that their construction spans the millennium from the Middle Bronze Age, although they may have been re-used later. The scale of many linear boundaries has been taken to indicate that they were constructed by large social groups and were used to mark important boundaries in the landscape; their impressive scale displaying the corporate prestige of their builders. They would have been powerful symbols, often with religious associations, used to define and order the territorial holdings of those groups who constructed them. Linear earthworks are of considerable importance for the analysis of settlement and land use in the Bronze Age; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.

The linear boundary on Stoke Down survives comparatively well, despite some later disturbance, and will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction and original function of the monument. The linear boundary is one of a wide range of broadly contemporary monuments situated in this area of the Downs, including flint mines and barrows, providing evidence for the developing pattern of land use during the prehistoric period.


The monument includes the best surviving, southern part of a roughly north east-south west aligned linear boundary, constructed along the western slope of a chalk spur which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The 94m long earthwork has a ditch up to about 4.5m wide and 0.3m deep, flanked to the west by a low bank up to 5m wide and 0.4m high. The earthworks have been partly disturbed by tree roots and towards its southern end, a short section of the earthwork has been levelled by a track, although traces of the ditch are likely to survive here in buried form. To the south west, the earthwork fades out as the ground slopes away. To the north east, the course of the linear boundary is marked by a modern field boundary for a distance of about 360m, but as the earthworks here have been significantly disturbed by rabbits and other modern activities, this area is not included in the scheduling. The modern fence which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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:
Legacy System:


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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