Earthworks are very interesting but I find them frustratingly difficult to photograph and this prehistoric earthbank is no exception. It’s a Scheduled Ancient Monument, or S.A.M. and it forms the boundary between the National Trust’s property of Bridestones and the Forestry Commission’s Dalby Forest. Almost a kilometre long with other Bronze Age features notably round funerary cairns. Over the decades since the forestry was planted it has encroached on the monument potentially damaging it. Historic England, the public body protecting ancient monuments, demanded that the trees are removed within a corridor of five metres either side. So work is progressing in clear felling this ten metre strip and erecting new fencing. Bridestones Moor is a rare example of moorland which has not been extensively managed for the sole purpose of producing the highest density of grouse. The result is a very biodiverse habitat.
It is not entirely clear what this boundary was actually for. A tribe or clan marking the boundaries of their land. Containment of stock. Protection from wild animals. To keep people out, or in. There is no evidence what, if any, form of structure was on top of the bank. A physically uncrossable barrier or one similar to the low palisade fencing frequently erected by residents on a modern open plan housing estate. Easy to step over but etiquette prevents us doing so. It could have identified sacred land. Indeed it could have had a multiple of functions.