Ancient Monuments

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Multivallate hillfort, 400m west of Harehaugh

A Scheduled Monument in Hepple, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2923 / 55°17'32"N

Longitude: -2.0496 / 2°2'58"W

OS Eastings: 396946.67692

OS Northings: 599802.491807

OS Grid: NY969998

Mapcode National: GBR G747.2N

Mapcode Global: WHB0V.H76N

Entry Name: Multivallate hillfort, 400m west of Harehaugh

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1932

Last Amended: 6 August 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011397

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20953

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hepple

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the highest part
of a promontory overlooking the valleys of the Harehaugh and Grasslees Burns.
The encircling ramparts enclose an oval area measuring 160m east-west by 100m
north-south. The fort, of more than one phase, is divided internally by a
scarp with a central entrance into a western enclosure and an eastern
extension. The superbly preserved western end of the fort is surrounded by
four substantial earth and stone ramparts separated from each other by three
ditches. The ramparts are a maximum of 4m above the ditches which are 1.2m
wide. Slight traces of a single rampart are visible along the northern edge of
the fort. The south and east sides are protected by two ramparts and a ditch.
The outer rampart is 5m wide and stands 1.3m high above a medial ditch 2.5m
wide. The inner rampart, now a substantial steep scarp, stands 3m high above
the medial ditch. Outside these defences are traces of an outer ditch and a
slight counter-scarp bank. There are two entrances, one on the north side and
one on the south side.

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

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are
defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set
earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the
interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or
more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a
rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks
and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by
one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or
inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of
national importance.

The hillfort near Harehaugh is well preserved and a good example of its type.
Its situation at a strategic point in Coquetdale suggests it was a hillfort of
some importance. Additionally it is one of a group of hillforts in this part
of Coquetdale and will add greatly to our understanding of prehistoric
settlement in the region.

Source: Historic England


NY 99 NE 06,
RAF 541.442 4202-3,

Source: Historic England

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