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Large multivallate hillfort at War Coppice Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Caterham Valley, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2629 / 51°15'46"N

Longitude: -0.0955 / 0°5'43"W

OS Eastings: 532978.433245

OS Northings: 153252.521418

OS Grid: TQ329532

Mapcode National: GBR KK3.LPT

Mapcode Global: VHGS5.9JD6

Entry Name: Large multivallate hillfort at War Coppice Camp

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 22 December 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008498

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23009

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Caterham Valley

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Caterham Valley St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Southwark


The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date situated
on the crest of a chalk spur above the south face of the North Downs. Roughly
oval, the enclosure is defined by single and double ramparts and includes an
internal defended area of approximately 8ha.
To the south west the defences survive as a double bank and ditch with
additional scarping on the lower slope. The inner bank is c.5m wide and 0.4m
high with a ditch 7m wide and 0.3m deep situated 2m below its crest. To the
west of the ditch is the second bank, 8m wide and 0.5m high. Beyond this the
second ditch has become completely infilled over the years but survives as a
buried feature c.8m wide, visible as a terrace. Traces of a second, slighter
terrace are situated further down the slope, representing evidence of
additional scarping. The defences to the north east include an inner bank 5m
wide and up to 0.5m high from the interior and 4m high from the exterior with
a surrounding ditch 8m wide and 0.6m deep. Beyond this is a counterscarp bank
6m wide and up to 1m high. A 35m long section of a second ditch, which has
become partially infilled over the years, survives 25m further out to the
north east.
In the southern and south eastern areas of the monument, sections of the
hillfort have been disturbed by later quarrying activity.
Although the monument was originally thought to be either Roman or Neolithic
in date, excavations in 1950 showed it to be Iron Age and what had previously
been thought to be a fragment of an earthwork was almost complete with the
banks of the ramparts having been palisaded and revetted to strengthen their
Excluded from the scheduling are the houses, garages, greenhouses, out-
buildings, oil-tanks, swimming pool, ponds, garden sheds, wells, tarmac
driveway surfaces, gravel path surfaces, fences, gates and fence-posts but
the ground beneath all these features 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

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between
5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of
concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron
Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC
and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of
permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection
of the power struggle between competing elites.
Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have
ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances
although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may
comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts,
oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally
include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or
circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered,
for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as
raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain
evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include
platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens.
Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial
activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture
occurred on many sites.
Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded
nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh
Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere.
In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in
understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite disturbance from quarrying, the large multivallate hillfort at War
Coppice Camp survives comparatively well. It is the only known Iron Age
hillfort in Surrey to be situated on the North Downs and partial excavation
has demonstrated that it contains both archaeological remains and
environmental evidence relating to the hillfort, its inhabitants, their
economy and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hope-Taylor, , 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in War Coppice Camp, , Vol. 52, (1950)

Source: Historic England

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