Devil's Dyke

Poynings, Sussex


NGRef: TQ259111
OSMap: LR198
Sitetype: IApf

Iron-Age Hillfort

This large hillfort commanding spectacular views is protected by a massive bank and external ditch at the south-west end while another minor earthwork encloses the summit of the promontory. The area enclosed by the defences was about 40 acres (c.16ha). Within the central defended area one round hut was discovered and excavated, revealing several suken pits in its floor, which contained Iron-Age pottery fragments, animal bones and mussel shells. Other pits were found to contain pebbles, perhaps a sling-stone armaments cache. The fort was seemingly abandoned in the late-Iron age, perhaps with the coming of Rome, but the location was not entirely left desolate for a new Romano-British settlement was soon established nearby (on the site of the modern golf course).

The Devil's Dyke

The dyke in question lies in the valley to the south-east of the fort, and was reputedly dug by Beelzebub himself in an attempt to flood the churches of Sussex. The two tumuli nearby are said to be those of the devil and his wife (whoever she was).