Prehistoric Wiltshire Canals (Dykes)

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

Database of DYKES (Linear Earthworks) in Wiltshire

(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)
Ditch 530yds (484m) SW of Stitchcombe Farm
1003037SU 22278 69134
Linear earthwork NW of Sidbury camp
1003254SU 21324 50701
Earthwork 360yds (328m) NW of Warren Copse1003726 ST 94770 24303
Middle Chase Farm ditch1003730SU 00292 20956
Marleycombe Hill earthworks1003731SU 02430 22536
Great Ditch banks1003733SU 01661 21167
Wansdyke: section 610yds (560m) NW of Wernham Farm to 250yds (230m) SW of New Buildings1003784 SU 18215 66762
Wansdyke: 460yds (420m) SE of Broads Green to 266yds (240m) NE of Paddock Farm1003785ST 99292 67194
Ditch between Rag Copse and Scotspoor Plantation1003792SU 28356 56054
Linear earthwork 500yds (460m) S of Sidbury camp1004699SU 21358 49750
Earthwork on Paven Hill1004701SU 08096 88247
Earthwork 200yds (180m) W of parish church1004703ST 85060 86028
Linear earthwork in Savernake Forest, S of Great Lodge Bottom1004705SU 21182 66919
Linear earthwork on West Down1004707SU 05263 48179
Cross-ridge dyke on Buxbury Hill1004711ST 98421 26633
Wansdyke: section from S of Furze Hill to Marlborough-Pewsey road1004719 SU 16995 66482
Ditch W of Tanhill Fair1004721SU 07545 64937
Linear earthwork on Tidcombe Down1004729SU 28511 58019
Linear earthwork on Maccombe Down1004730SU 29771 57377
Whitefield Hill ditch1004732SU 20418 75550
Section of the Wansdyke1004736 SU 09966 64698
Botley Hill ditch1004745SU 29340 60019
Sections of Wansdyke in Jockey Copse and Round Copse1004751SU 28992 64445
Withy Copse ditch1004760SU 17179 64219
Odstock Copse earthwork1004775SU 14462 25064
Wansdyke, section 530yds (490m) on W side of Old Dyke Lane1005386SU 35170 637465201794
Grovely Ditch1005584SU 06602 33636
Winkelbury Hill earthworks1005585ST 95056 21025
Berwick Coombe ditch1005587ST 93763 23508
Wansdyke: Daniel's Lane section1005594SU 32284 64415
White Sheet Hill ditch1005596ST 80372 35054
Bury Orchard ditch1005603SU 04121 25223
Grovely Castle and earthworks N of Grovely Wood1005604SU 05839 35539
Ditch, 343yds (310m) ENE of East Farm Cottages to 800yds (730m) NW of St Martin's Chapel1005606ST 99358 35116
Woodland Down ditch1005617ST 95617 23509
Long barrow and Old Ditch linear earthwork, on Tilshead Down1009297SU 02422 46881
The Weather Hill multiperiod landscape and associated linear earthworks1009337SU 20300 51739
Boundary earthwork across the Bulford Ranges1009503SU 20856 44339
Boundary earthwork running south from Dunch Hill, through Brigmerston Plantation and Milston Down.1009656SU 20647 46944
Cross ridge dyke on Warminster Down1009810ST 89585 48032
Boundary earthwork on Upavon Down1009812SU 15139 55508
Two boundary earthworks on the west of Rushall Down1009813SU 09285 53426
Boundary earthwork on Lamb Down1009833SU 25476 48608
Trackway, ditch and bell barrow on Longstreet Down1009927SU 17617 52608
Strip lynchet system north of Cotley Hill1009937ST 92223 43467
Combe lynchet system on Oxendean Down1010067ST 89851 46527
Strip lynchet system east of Cotley Hill Woods1010089ST 92493 43186
Boundary feature 700m south-west of The Plantation, West Lavington Down1010096ST 97697 48736
Boundary earthworks on Wilsford Down1010177SU 08812 53761
Boundary feature on Ball Down1010247SU 04770 50983
Boundary earthwork from East Down to Orcheston Down1010251SU 05533 48922
Strip lynchets south of Westdown Farm1010260ST 93414 51595
Boundary feature, western section of Long Ditch across Wilsford Down1010262SU 07695 53727
Enclosure and linear earthworks between Bishopstrow Down and South Down Sleight1010283ST 91942 47399
Boundary earthwork and associated bowl barrow on Windmill Hill1010288SU 24277 51395
Linear earthwork on Knook Down1010665ST 95707 44017
Linear boundary from south east of Winterbourne Stoke crossroads to south west of The Diamond on Wilsford Down1010837SU 10297 41054
Linear boundary within Normanton Gorse1010838SU 11292 41412
Ten round barrows forming the Lake Down round barrow cemetery and a section of linear boundary crossing Lake Down1010875SU 11846 39056
Section of a linear boundary from 350m north east of Westfield Farm on Lake Down to Lake Bottom1010881SU 12092 39303
The Lesser Cursus and a triple bowl barrow forming part of a linear round barrow cemetery south east of Greenland Farm on Winterbourne Stoke Down1010901SU 10511 43486
Linear earthworks forming part of a field system on Bishop's Cannings Down1013233SU 05655 66557
Pair of bowl barrows 150m north of the Wansdyke on All Cannings Down1013755SU 10337 64856
Three sections of a linear earthwork south west of New Barn1013771SU 10888 71024
Pair of round barrows and section of linear earthwork NE of the gallops on West Down1014028SU 07248 69220
Cross ridge dyke on Morgan's Hill1014033SU 03185 67113
Linear round barrow cemetery 200m ENE of West Kennett long barrow1014034SU 10765 67827
Harepit Way linear boundary1014559SU 07788 68819
Winterbourne Stoke West round barrow cemetery, The Coniger enclosure and section of linear boundary earthwork1015019SU 07727 41971
Bowl barrow and section of linear boundary earthwork on Winterbourne Stoke Down1015023SU 08694 42918
Linear boundary earthwork on Amesbury Down west of Stock Bottom1015218SU 15549 39504
Lynchets at Southmill Hill1015220SU 15930 40808
Devil's ditch: boundary earthwork1015434SU 21330 47793
Boundary earthwork across Dunch Hill Golf Course1015480SU 21280 48486
Boundary feature south of Clarendon Hill Reservoir1015482SU 22435 48615
Linear boundary earthwork 250m west of Stockport1015689SU 16294 39460
Two earthwork enclosures and a linear earthwork 625m north of Barbury Castle1016362SU 14923 76917
Linear boundary earthwork west of Liddington Castle1016391SU 20678 79618
Medieval strip lynchets 280m west of Hill Barn1016902ST 85792 36454
Linear boundary on Bidcombe Down and Whitepits Down1016904ST 84435 37752
Cross dyke 920m north east of Dairy Farm1016905ST 83766 38274
Four lynchets 610m west of Kingston Dairy1016910ST 83706 36985
Bronze Age enclosure and linear boundary earthwork on Boscombe Down East1017273SU 23212 37235
Section of Wansdyke and associated monuments from east of The Firs to the eastern side of Tan Hill1017288SU 04374 663446,720281414
Hillfort, two bowl barrows, medieval strip lynchets and a cross dyke on Cley Hill1017296ST 83870 44869
Medieval strip lynchets 370m south of Greater Lane Farm1017302ST 92569 52587
Two cross dykes 580m and 610m north east of Wood Farm1017709ST 80752 34072
Cross dyke on Mere Down, east of White Sheet Hill hillfort1017710ST 81036 34699
Strip lynchet system east of Three Corner Firs1017862ST 99125 52735
Boundary earthwork east of Church Hill1017928SU 03821 52632
Cross dyke 520m north east of Cherhill Monument1018421SU 05138 69673
Cross dyke 230m south west of Cherhill Monument1018422SU 04551 69246
Cross dyke 450m west of Cherhill Monument1018423SU 04273 69347
Linear boundary earthwork and associated field system on Cherhill Down1018431SU 05167 69600
Oldbury Camp hillfort, bowl barrow and cross dyke on Cherhill Down1018611SU 04890 69244
Cross dyke and field banks in Peaks Wood 210m east of Hellscomb Cottages1019191SU 26082 78923
Cross dyke 870m north west of Burton Farm1019197ST 84761 38008
Strip lynchets immediately south west of Woodcombe Cleve1019383ST 89835 41240
Chiselbury Camp hillfort, cross dykes and site of turnpike toll house1020262SU 01826 28122
Two cross ridge dykes 710m and 790m east of Wellhead Farm1020372ST 87739 49570
Cross ridge dyke on Charlton Down, 1250m and 1350m south west of Higher Berry Court Cottages1020632ST 91765 20377
Cross ridge dyke 1000m south west of Higher Berry Court Cottages1020633ST 91931 20632
The Carrion Tree Rack:a linear boundary in Rushmore Park, south west, south and north east of Park Cottage1020727ST 95287 18681
Linear boundary and section of Roman road, 550m south east of Ashmore Farm1020728ST 92246 17026
A cross-ridge dyke on South Down 500m north east of Chase Barn1020958ST 99016 21704

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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