Ancient Monuments

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Dolbury Hillfort, 230m North of Killerton House

A Scheduled Monument in Broad Clyst, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7942 / 50°47'39"N

Longitude: -3.458 / 3°27'28"W

OS Eastings: 297338.208693

OS Northings: 100420.176294

OS Grid: SS973004

Mapcode National: GBR LK.Z7SN

Mapcode Global: FRA 36NZ.SRN

Entry Name: Dolbury Hillfort, 230m North of Killerton House

Scheduled Date: 30 August 1972

Last Amended: 26 January 2018

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017192

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29690

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Broad Clyst

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Broadclyst St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


A slight univallate hillfort and associated defended enclosure, of probable Iron Age date.

Source: Historic England


The monument includes Dolbury Hillfort, a slight univallate hillfort with an associated defended enclosure, probably dating to the Iron Age period. It occupies the higher, southern end of a long knoll which overlooks the River Culm to the north.

The hillfort has an irregular oval plan, and its defences which utilise with some modification, the natural slope of the hill, are strengthened by a rampart and ditch on the western side, and enclose a level area of about 2.2ha. Occupying slightly lower ground to the west is a well-defended enclosure built after the completion of the hillfort itself. The earliest defended area of the hillfort has an easy approach only from the west where artificial defences were provided. These comprised a single rampart and ditch which survive as a flat-topped bank 1m wide, fronted by an angled slope 4m wide and a ditch 3m wide; of the latter only a faint depression remains as it has been largely infilled over the years. Elsewhere, the naturally-occurring steep slopes appear to have provided an adequate defence requiring only scarping in places to enhance their effectiveness. Adjoining the hillfort on its western side, and enclosing a further area of approximately 2ha, is an enclosure which is still considered to be prehistoric in origin, however, it is clearly somewhat later in construction than the original hillfort to the east as its artificial defences can be seen to intrude upon those of the earlier work. They comprise a rampart with an average width of 2.3m fronted by a ditch 3m wide with a steep-angled slope which reaches a maximum distance of 11m between the ditch and the top of the rampart where the defences survive best on the western and north-western sides. There is a faint trace of a counterscarp beyond the outer rim of the ditch. An entrance 5.5m wide, but known to have been widened in modern times, leads into the enclosure from the north. The absence of any completion of the circuit of this second enclosure on its eastern side, where it partly intrudes within the defences of the hillfort, suggests that the intention may have been to create a single larger enclosure rather than for the newer enclosure to entirely replace the earlier hillfort. This is further evidenced by the presence of slight earthworks, visible on lidar-derived imagery, which define the southern edge of the hillfort and appear to connect the two enclosures.

All fencing and fence posts, gateways, guideposts and the surfaces of pathways are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features is included.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Dolbury Hillfort, a univallate hillfort constructed during the Iron Age, is scheduled for the following principal reasons:

* It survives well, despite some modification and obscuring of its features due to tree planting in the C18 and quarrying, and is unusual in having been provided with a well-defended secondary enclosure which is almost as large in area as the hillfort itself.
* Although a major class of hillfort in the Devon, slight univallate hillforts are rare nationally, and they are of importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities.
* It will retain evidence for the date and method of its construction as well as the lives of its inhabitants, contributing to our knowledge and understanding of the social organisation of the area during the prehistoric period.
Historic interest:
* The interest of the fort is enhanced by its adaptation and inclusion within parkland (Registered at Grade II*, sections of the park pales are scheduled) associated with Killerton House (Grade II*).

Source: Historic England


Devon & Dartmoor Historic Environment Record, MDV1312 Dolbury Hillfort, Killerton
Hegarty, C, Knight, S and Sims, R, 2016, East and Mid Devon River Catchments, National Mapping Programme Survey
National Trust, 2000, Killerton Estate Archaeological Survey, Part 1. The Park and Garden
Quinnell, N V, September 1990, Killerton Park – Dolbury Hill Fort
South West Archaeology Ltd, February 2016, The Deerpark, Killrton, Broadclyst, Devon. Results of a Desk-Based Assessment and Walkover Survey

Source: Historic England

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