Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)

GE Map of Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)
Dykes in Yellow- GE
Old Map
Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)
1800s Map
Geological Landscape
Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Water levels (BGS Superficial Soils) – Dykes link to Waterways
Prehistoric Dorset Canals (Dykes)
LiDAR (Low Resolution)

Database of DYKES (Linear Earthworks) in Dorset

(Click the ‘HE Entry Ref: Number’ (if blue) for more details and Maps)

NameHE Entry Ref:NGFLength (m)Overall Width (m)Ditch Width (m)Bank Width (m)
Boundary banks on Rye Hill and in Maldry Wood1002381SU 05424 10513
Gillingham Park boundary bank1002382ST 83430 24759
Length of deer park bank and ditch at Alderholt1002394SU 11425 12783
Combe Ditch, linear dyke1002400ST 87253 00629
Dyke SE of Eggardon Hill camp1002404SY 54830 94261
Field system in Valley of Stones (including earthwork N of Crow Hill)1002431SY 59548 88549
Earthworks in Ditchey Coppice1002448ST 88678 13321
Linear earthworks around Lyscombe Bottom1002454ST 73177 02625
Earthwork and ancient fields SE of Lyscombe Bottom1002456ST 74480 01516
Earthworks on Thickthorn Down1002457ST 96665 12317
Cross-ridge dyke on Rawston Down1002462ST 91801 06437
Dyke on Long Barrow Hill1002688SY 57084 91065
Earthworks on Giant Hill1002725ST 66759 01868
Dyke on Wears Hill1002732SY 57062 86382
Earthwork 80yds (70m) long NW of Coombe Bottom1002734SY 54329 93706
Dyke on Haydon Down1002735SY 54791 93472
Cross-ridge dyke on Windsbatch1002753SY 65734 85081
Two barrows near Ackling Dyke1002786SU 00582 14303
Earthworks on Askerswell Down1003214SY 53661 92014
Part of Ackling Dyke (Roman road), including Roman road on Oakley Down1003309SU 00923 14905
Cross dyke 600m north of Pitcombe Farm1011695SY 58336 90256
Bokerley Dyke, and a section of Grim's Ditch, a section of a medieval boundary bank, and two bowl barrows on and north west of Martin Down1012135SU 02361 20034
Two sections of a linear earthwork north of West Woodyates Manor: part of the `Bokerley Line'1012136SU 02486 19949
A linear earthwork north east of West Woodyates Manor: part of the `Bokerley Line'1012138SU 02343 19898
The western of two linear earthworks north of West Woodyates Manor1012139SU 01559 19630
The eastern of two linear earthworks north of West Woodyates Manor1012140SU 01762 19664
Bowl barrow and cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 500m NNE of St Peter's Church1014838SY 94389 82371
Cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 470m SSE of East Creech Farm1014842SY 93163 82104
Cross dyke on Knowle Hill, 430m south of East Creech Farm1014843SY 93047 82122
Battery Bank: a linear boundary on Great Plantation, 450m north east of Woodside1015347SY 85856 88573
Long barrow, three bell barrows, fancy barrow and a linear earthwork 800m north of Maiden Castle1015783SY 66549 89265
Cross dyke and bowl barrow on Bell Hill 690m north east of Baker's Folly1016686ST 79682 07996
Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 1km south west of Broughton House1016689ST 81685 09579
Cross dyke on Okeford Hill 880m south east of Hartcliff Farm1016690ST 81134 09702
Cross dyke and linear boundary on Melbury Hill and Compton Down1016894ST 87797 19730
Group of linear earthworks on Worgret Heath1018187SY 89778 87076
Linear earthwork on Wareham Common, 350m north west and 420m north east of Little Farm1018194SY 90738 87405
Bowl barrow cemetery and a cross dyke on Horton Common 800m south of Bridge Farm1018411SU 07535 07230
Cross dyke 480m and 690m NNW of Fontmell Hill House1019028ST 88965 17317
Cross dyke on Bell Hill 610m east of Brooks Farm1019363ST 80276 09097
Medieval strip lynchets 450m south of Springhead Farm1020028ST 87397 16609
Two cross dykes on Fontmell Down, 850m and 880m south east of Gourd's Farm1020361ST 88289 18244
Cross ridge dyke 140m north and 70m south of Hatts Barn1020610ST 90130 18791
Linear boundary 870m south west of Spring Farm1020729ST 90887 16118

Dykes Ditches and Earthworks

Indeed, the modern term “dyke” or “dijk” can be traced back to its Dutch origins.  As early as the 12th century, the construction of Dykes in the Netherlands was a well-established practice.  One remarkable example of their ingenuity is the Westfriese Omringdijk, stretching an impressive 126 kilometres (78 miles), completed by 1250.  This Dyke was formed by connecting existing older ‘dykes’, showcasing the Dutch mastery in managing their aquatic landscape.

The Roman chronicler Tacitus even provides an intriguing historical account of the Batavi, a rebellious people who employed a unique defence strategy during the year AD 70.  They punctured the Dykes daringly, deliberately flooding their land to thwart their enemies and secure their retreat.  This historical incident highlights the vital role Dykes played in the region’s warfare and water management.

Originally, the word “dijk” encompassed both the trench and the bank, signifying a comprehensive understanding of the Dyke’s dual nature – as both a protective barrier and a channel for water control.  This multifaceted concept reflects the profound connection between the Dutch people and their battle against the ever-shifting waters that sought to reclaim their land.

The term “dyke” evolved as time passed, and its usage spread beyond the Dutch borders.  Today, it represents not only a symbol of the Netherlands’ engineering prowess but also a universal symbol of human determination in the face of the relentless forces of nature.  The legacy of these ancient Dykes lives on, a testament to the resilience and innovation of those who shaped the landscape to withstand the unyielding currents of time.

Upon studying archaeology, whether at university or examining detailed ordinance survey maps, one cannot help but encounter peculiar earthworks scattered across the British hillsides.  Astonishingly, these enigmatic features often lack a rational explanation for their presence and purpose.  Strangely enough, these features are frequently disregarded in academic circles, brushed aside, or provided with flimsy excuses for their existence.  The truth is, these earthworks defy comprehension unless we consider overlooked factors at play.

One curious observation revolves around the term “Dyke,” inherently linked to water.  It seems rather peculiar to apply such a word to an earthwork atop a hill unless an ancestral history has imparted its actual function through the ages.  Let us consider the celebrated “Offa’s Dyke,” renowned for its massive linear structure, meandering along some of the present boundaries between England and Wales.  This impressive feat stands as a testament to the past, seemingly demarcating the realms of the Anglian kingdom of Mercia and the Welsh kingdom of Powys during the 8th century.

However, delving further into the evidence and historical accounts challenges this seemingly straightforward explanation.  Roman historian Eutropius, in his work “Historiae Romanae Breviarium”, penned around 369 AD, mentions a grand undertaking by Septimius Severus, the Roman Emperor, from 193 AD to 211 AD.  In his pursuit of fortifying the conquered British provinces, Severus constructed a formidable wall stretching 133 miles from coast to coast.

Yet, intriguingly, none of the known Roman defences match this precise length.  Hadrian’s Wall, renowned for its defensive prowess, spans a mere 70 miles.  Could Eutropius have referred to Offa’s Dyke, which bears remarkable similarity to the Roman practice of initially erecting banks and ditches for defence?

For more information click HERE

Further Reading

For information about British Prehistory, visit for the most extensive archaeology blogs and investigations collection, including modern LiDAR reports.  This site also includes extracts and articles from the Robert John Langdon Trilogy about Britain in the Prehistoric period, including titles such as The Stonehenge Enigma, Dawn of the Lost Civilisation and the ultimate proof of Post Glacial Flooding and the landscape we see today.

Robert John Langdon has also created a YouTube web channel with over 100 investigations and video documentaries to support his classic trilogy (Prehistoric Britain). He has also released a collection of strange coincidences that he calls ‘13 Things that Don’t Make Sense in History’ and his recent discovery of a lost Stone Avenue at Avebury in Wiltshire called ‘Silbury Avenue – the Lost Stone Avenue’.

Langdon has also produced a series of ‘shorts’, which are extracts from his main body of books:

The Ancient Mariners

Stonehenge Built 8300 BCE

Old Sarum

Prehistoric Rivers

Dykes ditches and Earthworks

Echoes of Atlantis

Homo Superior

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