Cross dyke and field banks in Peaks Wood 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019191

Date first listed: 09-Nov-2000


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke and field banks in Peaks Wood 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aldbourne

National Grid Reference: SU 26082 78923


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 remains of the cross dyke and associated field banks in Peaks Wood, 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages, survive well as a substantial earthwork. The survival of deposits relating to the construction and use of the monument is likely to be good. These deposits will contain important information about the dating of the dyke and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a cross dyke and a series of field banks at Peaks Wood, on the upper south western slopes of a chalk ridge known as Peaks Downs, overlooking Wanborough Plain.

The cross dyke consists of a chalk-cut ditch a maximum of 3m in width and 1.3m in depth which runs for approximately 220m on a north east to south west axis down the valley side. A slight bank running along the edge of the northern side is thought to be a modern feature. Three roughly parallel banks 160m in length run south from the south western half of the cross dyke and represent the remains of an associated enclosure or field system. The banks, which are up to 1.5m in width and 0.4m in height are joined at their southern ends by a further bank running north east to south west.

The cross dyke was first mentioned by Richard Colt-Hoare in 1819 in conjunction with a disc barrow to the north west which is the subject of a separate scheduling.

All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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: 33956

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Colt-Hoare, R, History of Ancient Wiltshire, (1819), 36
Ordnance Survey, NMR: SU 27 NE 22,
Ordnance Survey, NMR: SU 27 NE 619, (1973)
Wiltshire County Council, 1:10000 Vertical, (1991)
Wiltshire County Council, SU27 NE619,

End of official listing