Rabbit warren 800m east of Woodlane Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019730

Date first listed: 09-Apr-2001


Ordnance survey map of Rabbit warren 800m east of Woodlane Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 12:39:53.


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

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Lydiard Millicent

National Grid Reference: SU 04372 85558


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

Reasons for Designation

A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries, which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals easier, whether using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds vary in design although rarely exceeding 0.7m in height. Earlier monuments such as burial mounds, boundary features and mottes were sometimes reused as breeding places. The mounds are usually surrounded by ditches and contain underlying channels or are situated on sloping ground to facilitate drainage. The interior of the mound may also contain nesting places constructed of stone slabs or cut into the underlying subsoil or bedrock. A typical warren may contain between one and forty pillow mounds or rabbit buries and occupy an area up to c.600ha. Many warrens were enclosed by a bank, hedge or wall intended to contain and protect the stock. Other features associated with the warren include vermin traps (usually a dead-fall mechanism within a small tunnel), and more rarely traps for the warren stock (known in Yorkshire as `types') which could contain the animals unharmed and allow for selective culling. Larger warrens might include living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the site, sometimes surrounded by an enclosed garden and outbuildings. Early warrens were mostly associated with the higher levels of society; however, they gradually spread in popularity so that by the 16th and 17th centuries they were a common feature on most manors and estates throughout the country. Warrens continued in use until fairly recent times, finally declining in the face of 19th and 20th century changes in agricultural practice, and the onset of myxomatosis. Warrens are found in all parts of England, the earliest examples lying in the southern part of the country. Approximately 1,000 - 2,000 examples are known nationally with concentrations in upland areas, on heathland and in coastal zones. The profits from a successfully managed warren could, however, be considerable and many areas in lowland England were set aside for warrens at the expense of agricultural land. Although relatively common, warrens are important for their associations with other classes of monument, including various forms of settlement, deer parks, field systems and fishponds. They may also provide evidence of the economy of both secular and ecclesiastical estates. All well preserved medieval examples are considered worthy of protection. A sample of well-preserved sites of later date will also merit protection.

The rabbit warren 800m east of Woodlane Farm within Webb's Wood is a small but well preserved example which provides an important insight into the economy of Bradon Forest.


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


The monument includes a rabbit warren in a clearing, within Webb's Wood, known as Skinner's Ground. The wood is a fragment of the former Bradon Forest situated on the low lying Oxford Clay Vale in the north of Wiltshire. The monument includes evidence for the warrener's cottage and two pillow mounds. The cottage survives as a rectangular platform 0.4m high, 14m long from east to west and 9m wide from north to south. South of the platform are the two pillow mounds, 14m long and 5.5m wide orientated north-south and standing to a height of 0.4m. Other slight earthworks in the area may represent features associated with the warren such as vermin traps. The character of these is not clear and they are not included in the scheduling. Skinner's Ground is shown as a clearing on a map of 1776, although no buildings are shown, suggesting that the cottage was disused by this time. Foundations of buildings were recorded here in the 19th century.

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: 34202

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Mc Knight, W H E, Lydiard Manor; its history, (1892), 17
WRO 305/11/1, Survey of the manor of Lydiard Tregoze, (1766)

End of official listing