The history of Black Down

A selection of worked flints found at Black Down, including arrowheads and axes, laid out in a display

Flints, ancient tracks across the land and so much more - evidence of Black Down’s past. Find out more about the treasures uncovered in this fantastic landscape.

Green fades to blue

We've been working in collaboration with the Black Down and Hindhead Supporters and University College London, to uncover this hidden past through traditional archaeological field survey, documentary research and the use of specialist lidar data. Tom Dommett, our archaeologist, has produced the video below exploring the history of Black Down.
 

Flint finds

There's no naturally occurring flint on Black Down, but it has long been known as a source of prehistoric flint artefacts. Collected over the last 100 years, through chance finds and antiquarian excavation, the Haslemere Educational Museum now has a collection of over 2000 flint tools, ranging from axes and maceheads to arrowheads for hunting, blades for butchery and scrapers for preparing animal hides.
 
Black Down was clearly being used by hunter-gatherer communities over a long period, perhaps because it offered a good vantage point to observe game and intercept them as herd animals moved up the watercourses in the nearby valleys.
 

Criss-crossing tracks

The historic trackways which criss-cross Black Down bear testament to the fact that this was a busy landscape. Over 40 historic routes have been identified, many from the Medieval period.
 
These range from droveways for moving stock to woodsmens tracks and paths for turf cutters or transporting stone.
 
Tracks lead up to the common from all of the surrounding areas. Some of the tracks provide evidence for the numerous small farmsteads surrounding the common, many of which now remain only as low stone footings and platforms.
Video

The archaeology of Black Down

Find out about the archaeology at Black Down in this video from Tom Dommett, one of our regional archaeologist.