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Iron Age enclosure and Roman marching camp

A Scheduled Monument in Alverdiscott, Devon

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Latitude: 51.0086 / 51°0'30"N

Longitude: -4.1506 / 4°9'1"W

OS Eastings: 249222.807873

OS Northings: 125443.153314

OS Grid: SS492254

Mapcode National: GBR KM.JLCY

Mapcode Global: FRA 266G.0TF

Entry Name: Iron Age enclosure and Roman marching camp

Scheduled Date: 3 November 1988

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004558

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 1035

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Alverdiscott

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Alverdiscott All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Iron Age defended settlement and Roman camp 125m east of Higher Kingdon Barn.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 November 2015. This 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 an Iron Age defended settlement and a Roman camp situated close to the summit of one of the most prominent ridges to the east of the Torridge Valley just north of Gammaton Moor. Both the settlement and the camp survive as entirely buried features visible on aerial photographs. The Iron Age settlement lies to the west on a south facing slope and is defined by three ditches, two outer and one inner. The Roman marching camp survives as a rectangular enclosure immediately beside the first and is defined by a single ditch up to 1.3m wide which encloses an area measuring approximately 140m long by 115m wide. There are four opposed entrances. The camp is more unusually sited in terms of the topography since it straddles a natural knoll and extends downslope to the south. The south western corner of the camp impinges upon and appears to overlie or conjoin with the outer ditch of the triple-ditched settlement. Although possibly coincidental the spatial relationship of the two enclosures might indicate contemporaneity, however, such an immediate juxtaposition of two different types of site is unusual and their relationship cannot be easily determined.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type nationally although in the upland areas of south western England they form one of the major types of hillfort and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as marching camps; most were only temporary bases and few were used for longer periods. They were bounded by a single earthen rampart and outer ditch and in plan are always straight-sided with rounded corners. Normally they have between one and four entrances. Such entrances were usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp. Roman camps are found throughout much of England. As one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by the Roman Army, they provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation. Despite the effects of cultivation the Iron Age defended settlement and Roman camp 125m east of Higher Kingdon Barn survive comparatively well. The unusual close spatial positioning of these two different types of military site may indicate the relationships between the indigenous population and the invading Roman forces. It also demonstrates the strategic nature of this prominent hill. The settlement and camp will provide archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction, longevity, use, date, social and military organisation, farming practices, strategic importance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-33033 and 33036

Source: Historic England

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