During the Second World War, the top of Black Down was kept clear of all vegetation except for grass by grazing livestock and the thousands of rabbits on the Common. It was suspected that this could form a perfect runway for aircraft to land on as part of a potential invasion force. To combat this, hundreds of tumps were constructed in a grid pattern to stop planes landing and, more importantly, taking off to collect more troops and equipment. These tumps were mostly constructed of stone which appears to have been robbed from local drystone walls. The tumps are now covered in vegetation and provide a unique micro habitat for plants and animals that enjoy the drier raised parts. As they are now covered by vegetation they are now hard to see but are visible from Beacon Batch. The extensive nature of this grid of tumps, together with the Bronze Age barrows is the reason why the whole of the top of Black Down is a Scheduled Monument.
Caring for Black Down
In addition to the vegetation covering them, some tumps have been eroded by animals, people and weather and are in danger of being lost forever. Please avoid walking and riding on or near the tumps to help prevent further erosion taking place.