Scheduled Monument

Chancefield Wood earthworks, SE of ChancefieldSM11013

Status: Designated


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The legal document available for download below constitutes the formal designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The additional details provided on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not form part of the designation. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within this additional information.


Date Added
Secular: ditch (non-defensive)
Local Authority
NO 23426 7930
323426, 707930


The monument consists of an extensive group of V-shaped ditches cut into ground that slopes from SE to NW. The ditches in general are aligned SE-NW but, on plan, converge slightly as they progress downslope.

The ditches are first recorded on an estate plan of the mid-eighteenth century in which they are recorded as having a more extensive and a more convergent ground-plan. It is obvious from this document that the original function was unknown to its author. Other documentary and place-name evidence indicates that the ditches were in use at least in the late sixteenth century. The original purpose for construction is not known but circumstantial evidence points to their use in the large-scale management of deer for export and hunting.

The ditches are located in a triangular tract of land within a recently felled conifer plantation. On plan, the ditches, and the steeply tapering ridges between them, form a complex arrangement of steep-sided V-cut features that occasionally coalesce and diverge. Although the soil profile consists of deep topsoil overlying unconsolidated colluvium, the ditches have been cut to depths in excess of 3m and have been, in places, cut through into underlying rock. In profile, throughout much of their lengths, the ditches have been cut so steeply that for anyone walking down the line of the ditch, lateral movement is extremely limited and egress, out of the ditch via the steep side-walls, is extremely difficult. To the N, a metalled forestry track crosses two of the ditches towards their NW ends; further features, possibly forming a small enclosure, lie in woodland to the N of this track towards its NW end.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan with a maximum dimension of 340m from its westernmost point to its easternmost, and 116m N-S to include the ditches and other related surface features as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. The roughly triangular area is bounded on the east and south by post-and-wire fences. Along the eastern half of the northern boundary, the scheduled area abuts a metalled track. An electricity transmission line runs within the area and parallel to the southern boundary. In its western half, the scheduled area expands northwards to include various surface features between the track and the southern bank of the Arraty Burn. All components of existing fences, the upper 30cm of the forestry track close to the northern boundary and the electricity transmission line poles, are all excluded from this scheduling to allow for their maintenance. The southern bank of the Arraty Burn, against which the northern border to the scheduled area abuts in the NW part of the scheduled area, is also excluded from this scheduling to allow for its maintenance

Statement of National Importance

The monument is of national importance as an extremely rare example of early deer management by a lordly estate. The importance of the monument is enhanced by documentary and place-name evidence, offering further evidence for its use as a tool for the management of deer. It is likely that the ditch complex was used in the selection of live deer for hunting, possibly with associations to contemporary Scottish royalty, within the estate and for the export of live deer to other estates.



It is recorded by RCAHMS as N020NW 8.


Miller Lt Col 1857, 'An inquiry respecting the site of the Battle of Mons Grampius', ARCHAEOLOGIA SCOTICA 4, 36.

Crawford O G S 1949, Topography of Roman Scotland north of the Antonine Wall, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 146.



About Scheduled Monuments

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Scheduling is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for monuments and archaeological sites of national importance as set out in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

We schedule sites and monuments that are found to be of national importance using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Scheduled monument records provide an indication of the national importance of the scheduled monument which has been identified by the description and map. The description and map (see ‘legal documents’ above) showing the scheduled area is the designation of the monument under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. The statement of national importance and additional information provided are supplementary and provided for general information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland accepts no liability for any loss or damages arising from reliance on any inaccuracies within the statement of national importance or additional information. These records are not definitive historical or archaeological accounts or a complete description of the monument(s).

The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief. Some information will not have been recorded and the map will not be to current standards. Even if what is described and what is mapped has changed, the monument is still scheduled.

Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at

Find out more about scheduling and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 19/08/2022 16:14