Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Reecastle Crag hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Borrowdale, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.548 / 54°32'52"N

Longitude: -3.122 / 3°7'19"W

OS Eastings: 327516.640194

OS Northings: 517545.788001

OS Grid: NY275175

Mapcode National: GBR 6HMV.WG

Mapcode Global: WH70F.0YLB

Entry Name: Reecastle Crag hillfort

Scheduled Date: 17 January 1964

Last Amended: 2 January 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012941

English Heritage Legacy ID: 23681

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Borrowdale

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Borrowdale St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Reecastle Crag hillfort. It is located on the summit and
northern ridge of Reecastle Crag and overlooks the hanging valley of
Watendlath. The ground falls precipitously from the north, north west and
north east sides of the monument and steeply elsewhere. The highest point is
formed by a large rocky knoll at the southern end of the monument.
A drystone wall on the monument's eastern side is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath the wall 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

In the northern uplands a number of small hillforts or fortified enclosures of
varying shape have been identified. They are located on hilltops or
distinctive craggy knolls and generally have an internal area of less than
1ha. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely
set earthworks, usually ditches with or without adjacent banks or ramparts.
These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories
or rocky knolls, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. The
layout of the site is heavily dependent upon the topography of the location.
The core area of the site, where the main living accommodation was provided,
normally occupies the highest position on the hill or crag. Additional living
or working areas are also frequently located between or within the surrounding
earthworks and may take the form of rock-cut levelled areas. They are of Iron
Age date and are contemporary with other more common hillfort types. Some,
however, may have been reused or have been new constructions in post-Roman
Hillforts of this type are rare, with fewer that 100 identified examples. In
view of this rarity and their importance for hillfort studies and the
understanding of the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of
national importance.
Reecastle Crag hillfort is a good example of this class of monument. It
survives well, remains unencumbered by modern development, and will retain
evidence of the activities undertaken within the site and the defensive
methods utilised.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Bailey, J B, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Maryport and the Tenth Iter; With Further Notes on Roman Antiq, , Vol. XXIII, (1923), 145

Source: Historic England

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