Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)

GE Map of Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes) 5
Old Map
Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)
1800s Map
Geological Landscape
Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)
Prehistoric Water levels (BGS Superficial Soils) – Dykes link to Waterways
Prehistoric Sussex Canals (Dykes)
LiDAR (Low Resolution)

Database of DYKES (Linear Earthworks) in Sussex

(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)
Royal Military Canal, Iden Lock to Kent Ditch1002216TQ 93872 24886
Medieval earthworks at Balmer1002241TQ 35877 10140
Linear earthwork S of village1002262TQ3584807520
Earthworks and lynchets on Buckland Bank and Buckland Hole1002283TQ3708210713
Chichester Dyke, earthwork extending N 360yds (330m) from Otter Memorial College1002981SU 86415 05960
War Dyke entrenchment in Whiteways Plantation and South Wood1002983TQ 00451 10478
Madehurst Wood earthworks1003736SU 97844 08356
Chichester Dyke: section 200yds (180m) long in Mouthey's Plantation, section 245yds (220m) long in Oakwood and section 100yds (90m) long SW of Oakwood House1003783SU 81983 06569
Chichester Dyke, sections in Little Cotfield Plantation1005833SU 82990 06436
Cross ridge dykes on Sutton Down1005834SU 95372 13850
Lynchets N of Downs Farm1005836TQ 03558 12534
Barrows and ditches on Steyning Round Hill1005852TQ 16637 10322
Chichester Dyke, Broyle earthwork, section extending 430yds (393m) through East Broyle Copse, to railway, and earthwork extending 400yds (365m) from Brandy Hole Lane, New Fishbourne1005853SU 85299 06639
Chichester Dyke, Broyle earthwork, section at Brandy Hole, extending E 230yds (210m) from railway, New Fishbourne1005854SU 85624 06629
Chichester Dyke, section of Broyle earthwork, extending 150yds (140m) through Plain Wood1005855SU 84974 06655
Chichester Dyke, Broyle earthwork, section extending 360yds (330m) S of West Broyle House1005856SU 84741 06661
Chichester Dyke, Broyle earthwork, section extending 360yds (330m) SW of Broyle House1005857SU 84313 06679
Chichester Dyke, earthwork extending 250yds (230m) in Densworth Copse1005858SU 83204 07545
Chichester Dyke, earthwork extending 300yds (270m) W of Densworth House1005859SU 82853 07391
Chichester Dyke, earthwork extending 110yds (100m) in Raughmere Copse1005860SU 85943 08086
Chichester Dyke, earthwork extending N 480yds (440m) from The Drive, Summersdale, near Chichester1005861SU 86075 07571
Chichester Dyke, earthwork E of Chichester Barracks extending 600yds (550m)1005862SU 86374 06291
Devil's Ditch, section extending 380yds (350m) NW from The Cottage, Goodwood Park1005870SU 88321 08868
Devil's Ditch, section extending 330yds (300m) W of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park, Box Grove1005871SU 89148 08422
Devil's Ditch, section extending 200yds (180m) E of Waterbeach Hotel, Goodwood Park1005872SU 89504 08386
Devil's Ditch, section extending 1730yds (1580m) from Stane Street to NW end of Redvin's Copse1005873SU 89921 08404
Devil's Ditch, section 725yds (660m) long W of Ounces Barn1005874SU 91642 08469
Devil's Ditch, section extending 1100yds (1000m), Valdoe Wood1005875SU 87653 08879
Devil's Ditch, section extending 960yds (870m) S of Lavant House1005876SU 85146 08081
A 210m length of Devil's Ditch running east from Chichester Main Road to Pook Lane1005877SU 85818 08156
Devil's Ditch, section extending 530yds (480m) W from Lavant Lodge1005878SU 86824 08664
Devil's Ditch, section extending 1200yds (1100m) through Little Tomlins Copse1005879SU 84235 07966
Devil's Ditch, section extending 200yds (180m) E from Chapel Lane1005880SU 83669 07988
A 362m length of Devil's Ditch running WNW from Chapel Lane1005881SU 83393 08053
Devil's Ditch, section extending 900yds (820m), Lye Wood, West Stoke1005882SU 82692 08267
Dalesdown Wood earthworks1005893SU 99769 09708
Goblestubbs Copse earthworks1005895SU 98406 07504
Cross dyke 730m south east of Ditchling Cross1008158TQ 36736 12587
Cross dyke and adjacent saucer barrow 850m south east of Ditchling Cross: part of Plumpton Plain round barrow cemetery1008159TQ 36847 12590
Cross dyke on south eastern spur of Bow Hill, 900m south west of the Tansley Stone1008370SU 81715 10443
Two bell barrows, two pond barrows and a cross dyke on Bow Hill: part of The Devil's Humps round barrow cemetery1008371SU 81887 10989
Linear boundary 310m north west of the Tansley Stone on Bow Hill1008373SU 81986 11279
Cross dyke on northern spur of Bow Hill, 500m north east of the Tansley Stone1008374SU 82536 11531
Cross dyke on north eastern spur of Bow Hill, 150m south east of the Tansley Stone1008379SU 82499 11063
Cross dyke on Telscombe Tye1009945TQ 40250 02959
Hilltop enclosure and linear boundary on Bow Hill1012319SU 82492 11580
Medieval moated site with flanking ditches and associated fishpond, Claverham Manor1012781TQ 53684 09034
Cross dyke on Pashley Hill1013538TV 58800 98294
A cross-ridge dyke and part of an adjoining cross-ridge dyke meeting at Juggs Road near Falmer Bottom1013911TQ 37081 07322
A prehistoric linear boundary known as Pook's Dyke and the south eastern part of Itford Hill settlement1014628TQ 44548 05125
Cross dyke on Beachy Brow 30m south east of the golf club1014731TV 58599 98606
Devil's Dyke hillfort1014953TQ 25969 11049
Post-medieval stock enclosure at Devil's Dyke1014954TQ 26574 11237
Cross dyke 420m west of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort1015115TQ 13514 12040
Cross dyke and platform barrow 460m south east of Chanctonbury Ring hillfort1015121TQ 14225 11693
Cross dyke and bowl barrow 310m south east of Wolstonbury Camp1015226TQ 28582 13420
Flint mine and part of a cross dyke 300m south east of Tolmare Farm1015237TQ 11062 08736
Linear group of three bowl barrows immediately east of Kithurst Hill car park: part of a dispersed round barrow cemetery on Kithurst Hill1015709TQ 07196 12479
Cross dyke on Chantry Hill, 470m south of Grey Friars Farm1015712TQ 08436 12636
Cross dyke on Sullington Hill, 500m south east of The Chantry1015714TQ 09442 12348
Cross dyke on Barpham Hill, 600m north west of Lower Barpham1015715TQ 06659 09622
Prehistoric linear boundary on Wepham Down1015716TQ 06263 09936
Cross dyke on Newtimber Hill1015717TQ 27588 12318
Rackham Banks: A cross dyke and Itford Hill style settlement on Rackham Hill, 900m SSE of Oldbottom Barn1015720TQ 05059 12540
Cross dyke on Springhead Hill, 780m south of Springhead Farm1015723TQ 06140 12597
Cross dyke on West Harting Down, 650m south west of Foxcombe Farm1015884SU 76458 18500
Multiple cross dyke on Harting Downs, 570m east of Down Place1015885SU 79700 18424
Cross dyke 760m WNW of Pepperscoombe1015918TQ 16021 10939
Multiple cross dyke on Heyshott Down1015958SU 89392 16506
Cross dyke 330m north west of Whiteways Lodge1015960TQ 00204 11019
Prehistoric linear boundary at Crown Tegleaze, 1km north west of Littleton Farm1015961SU 94317 15152
Prehistoric linear boundary on Barlavington Down, 550m north east of Dog Kennels1015962SU 96116 15395
Cross dyke on Woolavington Down, 600m south of Lavington House1015963SU 94656 15732
Cross dyke on Woolavington Down, 625m east of Tegleaze Farm1015964SU 93906 15588
Cross dyke on Woolavington Down, 475m north east of Tegleaze Farm1015965SU 93714 16007
Cross dyke on Steyning Round Hill, 700m south west of Pepperscoombe1016235TQ 16351 10243
Cross dyke 180m north of radio masts at Glatting Beacon1016620SU 96610 13302
Seven sections of Stane Street Roman road between Eartham and Bignor, a prehistoric linear boundary and two bowl barrows1016621SU 98873 13958
Cross dyke on Tottington Mount, 550m south east of Tottington Manor Farm1016811TQ 21792 11089
Heyshott Down round barrow cemetery and cross dykes1017614SU 90704 16492
Romano-British farmstead 480m north west of Devil's Dyke Cottages1017649TQ 25573 10669
Cross dyke on St Roche's Hill, 480m north west of The Trundle hillfort1018035SU 87383 11386
Cross dyke on St Roche's Hill, 410m and 425m north east of The Trundle hillfort1018036SU 87918 11442
Cross dyke on Heathbarn Down, 520m south east of Lodge Hill Farm1018058SU 84837 12976
Multiple cross dyke on Little Graffham Bottom, 770m SSW of Hayland Farm1018059SU 90995 16448
Cross dyke on Upwaltham Hill, 500m and 620m south east of Upwaltham Farm1018060SU 94645 13334
Double cross dyke on Upwaltham Hill1018061SU 95104 12766
Linear boundary on Stoke Down, 800m north of West Stoke House1018564SU 82586 09517
Cross dyke on Steep Down, 600m north east of Titch Hill Farm1018565TQ 16870 06888
Cross dyke on Steep Down, 700m north east of Beggars Bush1018566TQ 16655 07570
Cross dyke on Beeding Hill, 1100m north west of New Erringham Farm Cottages1018567TQ 20745 09130
Cross dyke in Court Plantation, 600m south west of Wiston Barn1018568TQ 15328 11391
Prehistoric linear boundary and Bronze Age bowl barrow in Pudding Bag Wood, 350m south of Upper Lodges1020384TQ 32567 09572
Cross dyke in Great Wood, 500m south west of Stanmer House1020385TQ 33196 09246

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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