Devil’s Dyke ancient footfalls and fortification
Devil’s Dyke was an early attraction for humans living in the Stone Age. Settlements sprang up across the country’s longest, widest and deepest valley, which was overseen by an Iron Age hill fort.
Our Stone Age ancestors spotted the benefits of settling on the undulating landscape of Devil’s Dyke. Indeed, dyke is a Saxon word for a fence or entrenchment built from earth, stone or wood.
Early settlers built simple enclosures, long barrows and flint mines. By the Bronze Age, more and more larger communities were living around the valley.
As human skills and a sense of society evolved, these early settlers put together more and more sophisticated shelters and homes.
The high ground of Devil’s Dyke provided an excellent site for an Iron Age hill fort and remnants of ramparts and round barrows have survived.
However, the Anglo-Saxons abandoned the settlements that had congregated at the top of the South Downs to move to the lower river valleys, coastal plain and Weald.
Geologists describe Devil’s Dyke as the most famous dry valley in the English chalk. Its steep sides and sharp curve are regarded as an unusual and important Quaternary landform.