Cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020610

Date first listed: 01-Jun-1961

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-2002


Ordnance survey map of Cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2019 at 14:49:01.


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

County: Dorset

District: North Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Ashmore

National Grid Reference: ST 90127 18594, ST 90130 18791


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. Cross ridge dykes are substantial linear earthworks typically between 0.2km long and 1km long, 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 a combination 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 reused 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 ridge dykes occur across Cranborne Chase and 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 examples have survived to the present day nationally and all well-preserved examples are considered to be of national importance. The number of well-preserved examples within Cranborne Chase is particularly notable.

The cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn is a well-preserved example of its class. It will contain archaeological remains providing information relating to later prehistoric land use and the environment. It is one of five similar monuments at the end of this escarpment providing an unusual association.


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


The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes two sections of a cross ridge dyke running approximately north-south across a ridge on an escarpment, north and south of Hatts Barn on Cranborne Chase. It is one of five similar monuments at the end of this escarpment, all of which are the subject of separate schedulings. The southern end of the cross dyke has a ditch up to 5m wide and 0.6m deep. There is no sign of a bank at this point, but lynchets have built up on the edges of the ditch accentuating its profile. The ditch might join with the northern section of the cross ridge dyke, but the intervening area is buried under the garden of the house at Hatts Barn Farm which has been built up to make it level. As it cannot be verified, the intervening area is not included within the scheduling. The northern section of cross ridge dyke includes a ditch, which runs north east for a short length, before turning 45 degrees and then running north. North of the corner the earthwork becomes more pronounced with the addition of banks. The ditch widens out to a maximum of 9m wide and up to 2m deep with a bank on its western edge, 8m wide and up to 0.7m high, and a counterscarp bank on its eastern edge, about 3m wide and 0.4m high. At the northern end of the monument there is a second bank 7m wide and up to 0.5m high on the western side of the ditch, with a maximum gap of 5.6m between the two banks. This bank is not quite parallel to the inner bank and appears to converge slightly on the ditch before petering out before the corner to the south. Heywood Sumner, writing in 1913, suggested that the ditch continued, without banks, to the north and stopped at the edge of the steep slope above a combe. This is no longer visible and cannot be verified either on the ground or on aerial photographs and this section is not therefore included in the scheduling. All fence and gate posts, water troughs, reservoirs and service pipes 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: 33568

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of Cranborne Chase, (1913), 66

End of official listing