Cross dyke on Bell Hill 610m east of Brooks Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019363

Date first listed: 18-Jul-2000


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke on Bell Hill 610m east of Brooks Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 11:29:07.


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 80276 09097


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 Bell Hill 610m east of Brooks Farm is a relatively 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 which provide an unusual and significant association.


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


The monument includes a later prehistoric cross dyke situated on Bell Hill. It is aligned south west-north east across the spine of a spur which slopes down to the north, and occupies a prominent position, but is situated below the crest of the hill. It is one of four similar sites situated on the edge of the plateau, possibly associated with the broadly contemporary settlement at Ringmoor, 850m to the south east. The other sites are the subjects of separate schedulings. The cross dyke is 70m long and has a bank 8m wide and 1m high with a ditch on its uphill, southern side, 5m wide and up to 1m deep. At both ends the dyke runs out short of the shoulder of the spur and the eastern end is cut by the ditch of a modern hedge. The dyke has been truncated near its centre by a former track, now a public right of way. All fence posts 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: 33543

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing