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Cleigh yn Arragh; Bow and Arrow Hedge

Period: Iron Age

NGR Easting: 238320

NGR Northing: 488550

Description: Earthwork. This large earthen bank and ditch crosses a ridge between two valleys. It survives as an earthwork features for around 300m, but a cropmark suggests that it may have extended for a further 300m as far as the bottom of the Lherghyrhenny valley to the south. The bank rises to a maximum height of over 2m near the top of the ridge, and a 3-4m wide ditch on the uphill side appears to have provided the necessary material. The bank peters out to the north close to the Tholt y Will stream, and the quarry ditch here has been eroded downwards by surface water run-off. To the south of the apex of the ridge the bank and ditch have been damaged by the construction of a sheepfold, and further south the physical remains of the earthworks have been ploughed down within fields belonging to a nearby farm, which is now abandoned.

The sheer size of the bank and ditch where best preserved has given rise to comparison with Iron Age defences, though their topographical location militates against this. Their most practical use would seem to be as a barrier against animals - grazing stock or perhaps wild deer - and thus it is tempting to see the earthwork as an unusually large example of the ‘mountain hedge’ which from at least medieval times separated common land from farm land and prevented animals pastured on the uplands during the summer from trampling crops.

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Site & Monument Type: earthwork

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: 0446.00