Cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020385

Date first listed: 24-Apr-2002


Ordnance survey map of Cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: The City of Brighton and Hove (Unitary Authority)

National Park: SOUTH DOWNS

National Grid Reference: TQ 33196 09246


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 in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House survives well, despite some subsequent disturbance, and contains valuable archaeological evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The cross dyke forms part of a dispersed group of broadly contemporary monuments situated along the ridge, providing important evidence for the relationship between burial practices, settlement and land division in this area of downland during the later prehistoric period.


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


The monument includes a north-south aligned cross dyke constructed across a chalk ridge which forms part of the Sussex Downs. The 78m long cross dyke has a ditch up to 5m wide at ground level and partial excavation in 1962 and 2000 showed that this survives to a depth of about 1m below ground. The ditch is flanked to the east by a bank up to 10m wide and 0.5m high. At each end the earthwork fades out on the gently sloping ground. Finds discovered during excavation suggest that the cross dyke was constructed in the Iron Age. These include pottery sherds and worked flint. Towards the centre of the dyke a narrow section of the earthwork has been levelled by the construction of a later track. The buried ditch will, however, survive beneath this modern feature.

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: 34308

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Funnell, J, Sussex Past and Present: Stanmer's Ridge Dykes, (2001)
Funnell, J, Preliminary report on archaeological investigations..., 2000,

End of official listing