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Hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse

A Scheduled Monument in George Nympton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9867 / 50°59'11"N

Longitude: -3.8355 / 3°50'7"W

OS Eastings: 271261.118562

OS Northings: 122409.509361

OS Grid: SS712224

Mapcode National: GBR L1.L255

Mapcode Global: FRA 26VH.PKF

Entry Name: Hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse

Scheduled Date: 24 October 1968

Last Amended: 23 December 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015463

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28623

County: Devon

Civil Parish: George Nympton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Molton St Mary Magdalene

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort which is situated slightly
to the west of the highest point on the top of a prominent hill. It overlooks
the valleys of the Rivers Mole and Crooked Oak, and also the confluence of the
Rivers Mole and Bray and the settlements of George Nympton to the north west
and Alswear to the ESE where the major river crossing is located.
The monument survives as an irregular enclosure with a bank, ditch and an
outer rampart. The central enclosed area measures 63m long from north west to
south east, 34m wide at its widest from WSW to ENE and 22.6m wide from west to
east at its narrowest. Within the central enclosed area there is a 4m wide and
up to 0.3m high bank which extends around the north, west and eastern sides
but this peters out to the south. In the north western corner is a further
raised area, roughly oval in shape and measuring 5.5m long by 4m wide and up
to 0.45m high. The whole internal area creates a slightly raised platform
above the height of the surrounding field. Beyond the bank is a ditch, which
to the west measures 5.8m wide and 0.6m deep. To the north the ditch is 5.4m
wide and 0.3m deep and on the eastern side it is 7.5m wide and 0.3m deep.
Outside the ditch is an outer rampart which is best preserved as a bank on
the north eastern, eastern and western sides, downslope to the south it peters
out to form a lynchet, and it also peters out in the north western corner. The
maximum width of the bank is 7.8m and it attains a height of up to 0.6m.

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

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.

Despite later reuse of the area, the hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse
survives comparatively well and contains archaeological and environmental
information relating to the settlement and exploitation of this area during
the Iron Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wilson-North, R et al, Earthwork North of Woodhouse Farm, (1995)
Higham, R A, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Devon Castles: An Annotated List, , Vol. 46, (1988), 142-9
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS72SW3, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1995)
National Archaeological Record, SS72SW1,

Source: Historic England

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