Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Slight univallate hillfort called Hilton Wood Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Whitstone, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.7704 / 50°46'13"N

Longitude: -4.48 / 4°28'48"W

OS Eastings: 225221.591973

OS Northings: 99693.676357

OS Grid: SX252996

Mapcode National: GBR NF.0T7T

Mapcode Global: FRA 17H1.QH1

Entry Name: Slight univallate hillfort called Hilton Wood Castle

Scheduled Date: 3 October 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004663

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 962

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Whitstone

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Whitstone

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort, situated at the summit of a steep ridge forming the watershed between two tributaries to the River Neet. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure measuring approximately 95m long by 80m wide. It is defined by a steep rampart bank standing to a height of 2.8m above the outer ditch which is up to 0.8m deep. There is a partial counterscarp bank to the north and east of up to 1m high. The entrance is a simple gap on the east side.

The hillfort was first recorded by Lysons in 1814.

Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of a separate scheduling.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-436439

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. 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. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. Slight univallate hillforts are relatively rare and are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. The slight univallate hillfort called Hilton Wood Castle survives well and is closely associated with a second prehistoric defensive work to the east on the opposite side of a steep valley. The hillfort will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, strategic and territorial significance, social organisation, trade, agricultural practices, domestic arrangements, relationship with nearby sites and overall landscape context

Source: Historic England

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