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Lynchet system near Bishopstone in Wiltshire.
The slope of a prehistoric lynchet at West Dean, West Sussex.

A lynchet is a bank of earth that builds up on the downslope of a field ploughed over a long period of time.[1] The disturbed soil slips down the hillside to create a positive lynchet while the area reduced in level becomes a negative lynchet[clarification needed]. They are also referred to as strip lynchets.

They are a feature of ancient field systems of the British Isles. Some believe that they were passively formed under the long-term action of gravity and weathering on the loosened soil of a ploughed slope, while others believe they may have been intentionally formed, to prevent erosion and slippage of the ploughed slope.

The word is the diminutive form of lynch, now rarely appearing in the English language, indicating an agricultural terrace.

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