Ancient Monuments

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Hillfort on Woodhouse Hill 500m west of Mickledale.

A Scheduled Monument in Frodsham, Cheshire West and Chester

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Latitude: 53.2762 / 53°16'34"N

Longitude: -2.7353 / 2°44'6"W

OS Eastings: 351067.041137

OS Northings: 375724.778207

OS Grid: SJ510757

Mapcode National: GBR 9ZBK.M8

Mapcode Global: WH87X.YXN7

Entry Name: Hillfort on Woodhouse Hill 500m west of Mickledale.

Scheduled Date: 13 December 1929

Last Amended: 20 July 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013297

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25694

County: Cheshire West and Chester

Civil Parish: Frodsham

Traditional County: Cheshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cheshire

Church of England Parish: Frodsham St Lawrence

Church of England Diocese: Chester


The monument includes a hillfort roughly rhomboid in shape on the crest of the
sandstone ridge at Woodhouse Hill. The fort is univallate (one rampart) and is
one of a number of hillforts on the sandstone outcrop which bisects the county
from the Mersey estuary to the Welsh border near Wrexham.
The defences on the south and west sides take advantage of the natural scarp
overlooking the coastal plain. There are traces of a bank to reinforce the
natural defence consisting of a slight scarp continuing the recurve of the
northern rampart and slightly set back from the cliff edge on the west side.
The rampart on the north and east sides is well defined and stands 0.5m to 2m
high but is frequently interrupted by gaps. There is no trace of an external
ditch. Excavation in 1949 showed that the bank had originally stood 3m high
and 4m wide at the base, revetted on each side with dry stone walling.
On the north west side a slight inturning of the sides of a gap in that corner
may be the original entrance.
The area of the interior of the fort is 1.52ha in extent.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

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. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The hillfort on Woodhouse Hill is one of a group of small hillforts in
Cheshire. The site survives well in spite of a heavy overburden of woodland
and bracken and significant erosion by footpaths and bridleways. The interior
of this fort will retain much information about the nature of settlement and
the domestic and agricultural economy of the area during the time of its
construction and occupation.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Forde Johnston, J, 'Trans Lancs and Ches Arch Soc' in Woodhouse Hillfort, , Vol. 72, (1962), 17-19
Cheshire SMR, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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