Ancient Monuments

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Wall Hills Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Thornbury, Herefordshire,

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Latitude: 52.2351 / 52°14'6"N

Longitude: -2.5432 / 2°32'35"W

OS Eastings: 362998.697785

OS Northings: 259789.38337

OS Grid: SO629597

Mapcode National: GBR FT.17RS

Mapcode Global: VH84Z.V2VY

Entry Name: Wall Hills Camp

Scheduled Date: 20 June 1956

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1001748

English Heritage Legacy ID: HE 69

County: Herefordshire,

Civil Parish: Thornbury

Traditional County: Herefordshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Herefordshire

Church of England Parish: Thornbury

Church of England Diocese: Hereford


Large univallate hillfort, 270m south west of Wall Hills Farm.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 May 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a large univallate hillfort situated on the summit of a ridge which forms the watershed between the valleys of the Netherwood Brook and a tributary to the River Frome. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 484m long by 322m wide, covering approximately 9ha defined by a single rampart bank standing up to 12.5m high above an outer ditch with a partial counterscarp bank of up to 1.2m high. Although there are several modern gaps and entrances the two original in-turned ones lie to the south east and north west.

Following more recent studies of aerial photographs and the earthworks it is now thought that the hillfort has a smaller, inner and earlier camp which was expanded out during a spate of hillfort construction in the region.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalk lands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. They are rare and important for understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society.

Despite cultivation of the interior and tree growth on the ramparts the large univallate hillfort 270m south west of Wall Hills Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, maintenance, social organisation, territorial and economic significance, trade, industry, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape 112487, Herefordshire SMR 557

Source: Historic England

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