Record Details

NHER Number:1089
Type of record:Monument
Name:Fossditch Linear Earthwork


This is a defensive bank and ditch linear feature running north to south between the River Wissey and the Little Ouse. Although an Iron Age date for a number of other linear earthworks in Norfolk has been suggested, excavations here suggest that the Fossditch dates to the Early Saxon period. It is probable that the earthwork formed a line of defence controlling a particular territory.

Images - none


Grid Reference:TL 7645 9137
Map Sheet:TL79SE

Full description

Fossditch Linear Earthwork.
Sections dug produced Roman sherds; suggested as sub Roman earthwork by R. R. Clarke (NCM).
See full details and schedule in file. (S2) in Large Rolled Plans. Box no.4
E. Rose (NAU)

24 January 1984.
(S1) signed 24 May 1997 for five years.
See copy in office file.
H. Paterson (A&E) 14 September 1999.

1993. Watching Brief.
Monitoring of service trench cut across the line of the Fossditch at TL 7650 9240. The trench was relatively shallow, not penetrating much below the depth of the plough soil. It is possible that a gradual dip in the natural chalk represented the top of the ditch noted during earlier work.
See report (S4) for further details.
P. Watkins (HES), 9 February 2014.

1998. Rapid earthwork identification survey.
See (S2).
S. Howard (HES), 5 September 2011.

October 2000. Visit.
Southern end grazed by sheep, good grass, minimal weed. One large rabbit hole to south. Northern section rough grass, ragwort, nettles, some bracken invading to south near gate. One rabbit hole near middle birch tree. Owner says rabbit population greatly decreased. Sheep are continually moved to keep bracken/weed under control.
H. Paterson (A&E) 4 October 2000.

2002. Visited.
Good grass cover, though some long due to reduction in sheep grazing, some now aged. Owner hopes to incorporate some of his neighbouring flock at present grazing E.S.A land. A little rabbit disturbance, these will be shot.
H. Paterson (A&E), 21 June 2002.

(S1) renewed 18 May 2002.
See copy in office file.
H. Paterson (A&E), 9 June 2002.

Scheduled Ancient Monument Management Plan March 2002 to March 2007.
Copy in file.
D. Gurney (NLA), 24 April 2002.

June 2004. Visited.
Site under long grass, with a few areas recently cut, some nettle patches and a little mole disturbance, no rabbit activity. All sheep have now died. Norfolk Wildlife Trust will now contact owners to establish cause of death before examining the possibility of their flock grazing this section of the 'ditch'.
H. Paterson (A&E), 25 June 2004.

July 2004. Visited.
At TL 77064 95325 on the north side of the A134 there has been (Spring 2004) a slight widening of an existing access (?) between the two fields. This has resulted in a south facing exposure of the chalk bank at the end of the extant earthwork, now somewhat weathered. This activity is unlikely to extend further north, due to trees on top of the bank. Presumed to be part of Scheduled Monument NF51.
D. Gurney (NLA), 22 July 2004.

July 2008. Rapid Earthwork Identification Survey.
Examination of area immediately to the east of the Fossditch at TL 771 951 (Coupe 42010). As the infilled ditch associated with the bank may pass through this area it was recommended that destumping was avoided in a strip along the western edge of this coupe.
See (S3) for further details. Other earthwork features identified in this area are now recorded under NHER 60580.
H. White (NLA), 4 February 2009. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 9 February 2015.

April 2014.
Further report of damage to the monument at TL77064 95325 or thereabouts (see July 2004) above. Referred to English Heritage. See Notes.
D. Gurney (HES), 09 May 2014.

Monument Types

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)
  • LINEAR FEATURE (Early Saxon - 411 AD to 650 AD)

Associated Finds

  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Protected Status

  • Management Statement
  • Scheduled Monument
  • Higher Level Stewardship
  • Higher Level Stewardship
  • Higher Level Stewardship

Sources and further reading

---Aerial Photograph: TL7588 A,B.
---Article in Serial: Ashwin, T. 1999. The Launditch and its Setting: Excavations at the Launditch, Beeston with Bittering, and Iron Age features and finds from it vicinity. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLIII Pt II pp 217-256. pp 221, 251.
---Scheduling Record: English Heritage. Scheduling Report.
---Article in Serial: Gurney, D. (ed.). 1993. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1992. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLI Pt IV pp 522-532. p 530.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Pendleton, C. and Sommers, M. 1998. Rapid Earthwork Identification Survey for Forest Enterprise. Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. 98/25.
---Article in Serial: Wade-Martins, P. 1974. The Linear Earthworks of West Norfolk. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XXXVI Pt I pp 23-38. p 35.
---Archive: Clarke, R. R. and NCM Staff. 1933-1973. Norwich Castle Museum Record Card - Early Saxon. Weeting with Broomhill [2].
---Secondary File: Secondary file.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Photograph: CXV29.
<S1>Unpublished Document: English Heritage. 2002. English Heritage Management Agreement.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Craven, J. 2008. Rapid Earthwork Identification Survey. Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service. 2008/188.
<S3>Map: Original schedule plan of whole monument.
<S4>Unpublished Contractor Report: Leah, M. D. 1993. Wellington Plantation, Mundford, Watching Brief Report. Norfolk Archaeological Unit.

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