Medieval strip lynchets 450m south of Springhead Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020028

Date first listed: 12-Jul-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Dec-2001


Ordnance survey map of Medieval strip lynchets 450m south of Springhead Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Fontmell Magna

National Grid Reference: ST 87397 16609


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

Reasons for Designation

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day.

Lynchets appear as parallel terraces which are most commonly seen on steep hillsides. They provide distinctive traces of medieval agricultural activities in downland areas, indicating the level of intensity of land use and farming practices through time. The medieval strip lynchets 450m south west of Springhead Farm are well- preserved and appear complete. They will contain archaeolgical deposits providing evidence for the economy and environment during the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a well-preserved flight of medieval contour strip lynchets, on a steep north west facing slope south east of Fontmell Magna, 450m south west of Springhead Farm. These lynchets continued to form part of the open fields in the 18th century and a map of that period shows that they lay in an area called Netton Field. At the eastern end there are three terraces merging into four at the western end, extending over a length of 380m. The terraces are up to 10m wide, rise up to 5m high and are connected by ramps at the ends. The lower terrace extends further east into an area of woodland where it is generally lower and less pronounced, degraded by past land use and current badger burrowing. This lower terrace has not therefore been included in the scheduling. All fence and gate posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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: 33556

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume IV, (1972), 120

End of official listing