Group of medieval strip lynchets at East and West Man


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Dorset (Unitary Authority)
Worth Matravers
National Grid Reference:
SY 97359 76021, SY 97626 77180, SY 97790 76395, SY 97963 77226

Reasons for Designation

Strip lynchets provide distinctive indications of medieval cultivation. They occur widely in southern and south eastern England, and represent prominent features on the Wessex chalkland. Strip lynchets, which are characterised by the presence of terraces known as `treads'and scarps known as `risers', can vary in length, with some examples exceeding 200m. Many systems include groups of three lynchets, while others are known to contain six or more. The group of medieval strip lynchets at East and West Man are very well- preserved examples of their class. They form one of the largest surviving groups of such features within Dorset and represent a significant proportion of the open field system which was associated with the medieval manor at Worth Matravers. The lynchets will provide an important insight into medieval farming practices within the area. They are well documented and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, includes four groups of medieval strip lynchets situated on the slopes of spurs known as East and West Man situated on either side of Winspit Bottom, with coastal views to the south. The strip lynchets, which now survive over an area of about 40ha, include a series of cultivation terraces which were produced by medieval ploughing. The lynchets developed as a result of the plough cutting into the upper edge of the slope and the resulting material being deposited along the downslope edge of the terrace. The surviving earthworks include two main components: scarps or `risers' and terraces or `treads'. The strip lynchets generally follow the contours of the slope and the longer examples may have been subdivided when in use. The lynchets vary from between 70m to 360m in length, 3m to 28m in width and about 2m to 4.5m in height. The lynchets accord with the pattern of fields shown on a Tithe Map of 1840, which also records that East and West Man were still arable areas at that time. The lynchets originally formed part of a more extensive medieval field system which extended over an area of about 80ha. The surviving earthworks lie on the slopes of the spurs; the lower lying ground has since been subjected to ploughing which has reduced the earthworks within these areas. All gate and fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries 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.


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

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Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 415
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 415


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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