Ancient Monuments

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High Peak Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Otterton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6663 / 50°39'58"N

Longitude: -3.27 / 3°16'12"W

OS Eastings: 310338.535627

OS Northings: 85953.35413

OS Grid: SY103859

Mapcode National: GBR P7.SQJ4

Mapcode Global: FRA 4719.V5S

Entry Name: High Peak Camp

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1962

Last Amended: 16 July 2014

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003887

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 55

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Otterton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Otterton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The buried remains of part of an Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure and the earthworks and buried remains of part of an early medieval fortified settlement.

Source: Historic England


The buried remains of part of an Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure and the earthworks and buried remains of part of an early medieval fortified settlement. It is situated at the summit of a coastal slope, which falls away steeply on the landward side to the west and meets the cliff edge to the east.

The remains of the Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure include a buried ditch at the north of the site. It is approximately 3.9m wide and 1.9m deep and underlies the early medieval bank that runs adjacent to the cliff edge. The ditch is thought to have formed part of the west side of the causewayed enclosure. About 60m to the south-west, towards the centre of the site, are two buried stone-lined Neolithic storage pits. Partial excavation has also identified several post holes, three cooking areas, and finds that include: nearly 1200 lithics such as polished stone axes (including a jadeite axe fragment of Alpine origin), arrowheads, knives, scrapers, piercers and flakes; Early Neolithic pottery sherds from carinated and straight-sided bowls (including gabbroic ware from Cornwall); bone fragments; charred wild food remains and charcoal.

The remains of the early medieval fortified settlement include multivallate earthworks, which originally formed the western side of an enclosure built in the C5 or C6 AD. At the east end of the site, adjacent to the cliff edge, is a bank orientated north-east to south-west. It is about 70.9m long and 14.6m wide at its base, and curves eastwards at each end. The bank has been created by shaping the natural slope of the hilltop. Partial excavation has uncovered evidence that it was originally revetted with stone. Encircling the bank is an external ditch, 3.7m wide and 1.8m deep, which survives largely as a buried feature. Situated at its western edge is a slight escarpment, probably the remains of a counterscarp bank. In the north part of the site is a further bank, about 8m wide and 60m long, which may have been formed by the shaping a natural ridge. It has been suggested that it may mark the remains of an entrance into the enclosure. A second outer ditch survives as a buried feature on the west side of the site, encircling the main enclosure. It is about 4m wide and 1.4m deep. Partial excavation has shown that the fill of the ditch contains the remains of a stone revetment, probably from further earthworks or counterscarp banks lower down the slope. Excavation also identified several post holes outside the ditch. The ground here forms a slight terrace which terminates in an escarpment. The finds from the site have included: a small bronze strip, a Kimmeridge clay spindle whorl, a whetstone, animal bones (mainly sheep and ox), oak charcoal, iron working slag and nearly 150 Mediterranean amphora pottery sherds.

The modern notice board, wooden steps and the concrete Ordnance Survey trig point are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

High Peak Camp, a multi-period site encompassing part of an Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure and part of an early medieval fortified settlement, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

*Rarity: as a rare example of a causewayed enclosure and a very rare example of a fortified settlement built in the C5 to C6;
* Period: the Early Neolithic causewayed enclosure and early medieval fortified settlement are highly representative of their period; the former being among the first examples of the enclosure of open space in Britain and the latter being one of only a few surviving fortified settlements built in the C5 to C6 associated with high status inhabitants and an international trade network;
* Potential: the site will contain further archaeological and environmental deposits, relating to the construction and use of the causewayed enclosure as well as the social and economic activity of the inhabitants of the fortified settlement;
* Documentation (archaeological): the significance of the monument is enhanced by well-documented records of previous investigations.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Pollard, S, 'Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society' in Neolithic and Dark Age settlements on High Peak, Sidmouth, Devon, , Vol. 23, (1966), 35-59
Rainbird, P, Taylor, R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Excavations at the Early Neolithic and Post-Roman Site of High Peak Camp, Otterton, East Devon, , Vol. 71, (2013 (forthcoming)), 25-53
Introduction to Heritage Assets: Causewayed Enclosures, accessed from

Source: Historic England

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