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Historic England Research Records

Horners Neck

Hob Uid: 973574
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Brendon and Countisbury
Grid Ref : SS7470048970
Summary : The remains of a cross dyke visible as an earthwork.
More information : SS 74704897. A univallate earthwork or cross ridge dyke situated at Horner's Neck.

Horner's Neck is a narrow steep-sided wooded promontory or spur which projects southwards towards the East Lyn River some 300m to the northeast of Watersmeet House. The footpath south from Countisbury to Watersmeet follows the top of this spur and recent clearing along the path revealed this earthwork (a). The spur, some 200m long and 225m above OD, is about 20m wide at its highest (northern) end, narrows to only 8m in the centre and expands to some 30m wide at its southern shoulder before dropping down the steep slopes to the East Lyn.
Cutting across the neck of the spur at its northern end is a univallate earth and stone rampart, or cross dyke, 30m long. Centrally, where best preserved, the rampart is about 10m wide and stands some 2m high above a silted external ditch about 6m wide and 0.2m deep. There are vestiges of an internal ditch, about 5m wide and 0.2m deep at best, some 0.7m below the rampart top. Towards the west the rampart and inner ditch gradually fade and the earthwork predominates mainly as an outer scarp. The outer ditch is reduced to a slight terrace which terminates at the lip of the steep natural slope. The footpath crosses the earthwork at its highest point near the east end and overlies the original entrance which is now difficult to interpret. Some 6m of the outer ditch survives as a fairly substantial hollow, about 7.5m wide and 1.5m deep, cut into the steep natural eastern slope of the spur. The rampart turns due south and all that remains now are stony fragments of linear scarps each about 1m high; on the north some 5m along the inner lip of the ditch, and the east about 10m following the top of the natural slope southwards before it peters out. The fragmentary state of this corner appears to be due to robbing which has also mutilated the entrance. The robbed material has apparently been dumped into the external ditch, widening the causeway to some 6m. This may have been done to facilitate entry to the later farmstead (SS 74 NW 81) some 100m to the south of this earthwork.
Some 50m south of the entrance is a pronounced linear depression crossing the narrowest part of the spur. This may be a natural feature which may have been augmented to restrict the access to the end of the spur. Otherwise (apart from the farmstead) there is no trace of any internal associated occupation or features.
The juxtaposition of these two sites (the earthwork and the farmstead complex) on the same narrow spur might at first suggest that they could be contemporaneous. The earthwork however, appears to be a separate entity; it has strong prehistoric characteristics and is probably Iron Age. The farmstead buildings are clearly much later in origin and though they could possibly overlie, or have destroyed, earlier remains there is no evidence to support this.

Surveyed at 1:1000. (See survey with SS 74 NW 81). (1)

As described by source 1. The group of substantial earthwork buildings on the spur, described above as a farmstead, have been suggested as medieval, and in such a context may well be associated with this outwork, which may either be an original feature or a re-used prehistoric earthwork. (2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : RCHME Field Investigation 29-OCT-1993 IS Sainsbury
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Source Number : 1a
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Inf W Singleton, Nat Trust Warden, Barbrook, Lynton, Devon.
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : R WILSON-NORTH 12 JAN 1996 RCHME FIELD INVESTIGATION
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Source : Horner's Neck/ink survey
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Source : Horner's Neck/pencil survey
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Prehistoric, Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Cross Dyke
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SS74NW196
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NW 86
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 973564
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 74 NW 86
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-10-29
End Date : 1993-10-29