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A Roman Camp in Banwell Woods

A Scheduled Monument in Banwell, North Somerset

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Latitude: 51.3249 / 51°19'29"N

Longitude: -2.8583 / 2°51'30"W

OS Eastings: 340286.503576

OS Northings: 158771.446881

OS Grid: ST402587

Mapcode National: GBR JC.WXBC

Mapcode Global: VH7CM.DYRQ

Entry Name: A Roman Camp in Banwell Woods

Scheduled Date: 22 December 1931

Last Amended: 16 February 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008111

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22817

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Banwell

Built-Up Area: Banwell

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a Roman camp incorporating a later pillow mound of cruciform shape situated in Banwell Woods,on a limestone ridge overlooking the Lox Yeo Valley.The monument has a sub-square shape defined by a bank c.5m wide and c.0.8m high and an external ditch c.4m wide and c.1m deep.The interior has dimensions of 110m from east to west and 100m from north to south.Two entrances provide access to the enclosure,although only the eastern example is likely to be original.Within the interior of the monument is a cruciform earthwork c.0.5m high with overall dimensions of c.35m from east to west and c.30m from north to south.Following partial excavation,this earthwork has been identified as a pillow mound or rabbit warren of post medieval date.All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling although the underlying ground is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman camps are rectangular or sub-rectangular enclosures which were constructed and used by Roman soldiers either when out on campaign or as practice camps;most campaign camps were only temporary overnight 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,although as many as eleven have been recorded.Such entrances were usually centrally placed in the sides of the camp and were often protected by additional defensive outworks.Roman camps are found throughout much of England,although most known examples lie in the midlands and north.Around 140 examples have been identified and,as one of the various types of defensive enclosure built by the Roman Army,particularly in hostile upland and frontier areas,they provide an important insight into Roman military strategy and organisation.All well-preserved examples are identified as being of national importance.The Roman camp in Banwell Woods survives particularly well and is known from excavation to contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and its later re-use.The siting of a small Roman camp close to an Iron Age hillfort is of interest in understanding the transition between the two periods in this area of the country.Roman camps are rare in Avon. The later rabbit warren is of unusual form.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hunt, J W, 'The journal of the Banwell Society of Archaeology' in Banwell Cross, (1963), 7-11
Comparison of site (Port Talbot), NAR Record (Port Talbot),
Definition of Roman camps, Carlton, RJ, Monument Class Description: Roman Camps (Definition), (1988)

Source: Historic England

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