Devil’s Dyke Hillfort, West Sussex

Devil’s Dyke Hillfort, West Sussex

Devil’s Dyke hillfort, sometimes Devil’s Dyke Camp, or just Devil’s Dyke. Marked on an 18th century map as ‘Poor Man’s Walls’. This is a univallate promontory Iron Age enclosure of around 15 hectares. A few pot shards excavated from a pit inside a roundhouse suggests the site was in use in the Late Iron Age (100-50 BC).(1)

Hamilton and Manley have described the design as follows:

At Devil’s Dyke, the rampart produces a trompe l’oeil effect of being a continuation of the imposing narrow, steep-sided, dry valley which sits into the north face of the South Downs.” (2)

Forde-Johnston notes that the western ramparts face more or less level ground, and are subsequently constructed on a much larger scale than the other defences. He also notes that the defences are not continuous, and that sections of the south and south eastern ramparts are minimal, depending on the steep slopes of the promontory for protection. (3)


Google Map of Devil’s Dyke. OS coordinates: TQ 25973 11088. Nearest town/village: Poynings.


  1. Burstow, G., and A. Wilson, 1936. Excavation of a Celtic village on the Ladies’ Golf Course, the Dyke, Brighton. Sussex Archaeological Collections 77: 195-201.

  2. Hamilton, Sue and Manley, John (2001). Hillforts, Monumentality and Place: A chronological and topographic review of first millennium BC hillforts of south-east England. European Journal of Archaeology

  3. Forde-Johnston, J. (1976). Hillforts of the Iron Age in England and Wales: A Survey of the Surface Evidence. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

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