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Hillfort at Bulbury Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Lytchett Matravers, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7474 / 50°44'50"N

Longitude: -2.1017 / 2°6'6"W

OS Eastings: 392918.315032

OS Northings: 94204.19866

OS Grid: SY929942

Mapcode National: GBR 327.3FH

Mapcode Global: FRA 67H3.F1W

Entry Name: Hillfort at Bulbury Camp

Scheduled Date: 14 July 1933

Last Amended: 7 July 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016725

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29088

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Lytchett Matravers

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Lytchett Minster

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Bulbury Camp,
situated on a low south facing spur, overlooking Poole Harbour. The hillfort
has a roughly circular interior with maximum dimensions of 220m from east to
west and 200m from north to south and occupies an area of about 3.5 ha. It is
enclosed by a single set of ramparts which include a bank and outer ditch. The
bank, which has been reduced by ploughing, is visible as an intermittent
earthwork 10m wide and about 0.5m high. The outer ditch has now become much
infilled, but it is visible as an intermittent depression between 0.2m to 0.4m
deep to the south, west and north. The north eastern area of the rampart is
partially overlain by a house and gardens at Higher Bulbury Farm. The site was
recorded by E Cunnington in 1884, when two pairs of entrances were noted to be
aligned north-south and east-west. The entrances to the east and west were
each associated with a pair of banks which curved into the interior of the
hillfort, each extending for about 24m. The position of the entrances has
since been obscured by ploughing although a possible remnant of a section of
curved bank has been recorded as a low earthwork within the eastern area of
the interior. The western entrance is partially marked by a short gap in the
bank, while the one to the south can be seen within a more general reduction
in the height of the bank. It is unknown which of the recorded entrances are
original, but those to the east and west are likely to represent early
Finds of pottery, metalwork and glass objects were made within the interior of
the hillfort during the late 19th century and suggest occupation during the
1st century AD. Many of the finds are now held at the Dorset County Museum.
All fence posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath them is included.
The structure of the house at Higher Bulbury Farm and associated underlying
ground is not included in the scheduling.

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 some reduction by ploughing, Bulbury Camp slight univallate hillfort
survives comparatively well and is known to contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed. The monument is notable on account of its low lying position
and the presence of inturned entrance earthworks.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 492-3
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 492-3

Source: Historic England

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