Ancient Monuments

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Hillbury hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Seale and Sands, Surrey

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Latitude: 51.2134 / 51°12'48"N

Longitude: -0.697 / 0°41'49"W

OS Eastings: 491106.135219

OS Northings: 146824.387619

OS Grid: SU911468

Mapcode National: GBR DB7.YBT

Mapcode Global: VHDY3.VRWP

Entry Name: Hillbury hillfort

Scheduled Date: 30 November 1925

Last Amended: 8 December 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017797

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29296

County: Surrey

Civil Parish: Seale and Sands

Traditional County: Surrey

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Surrey

Church of England Parish: Seale, Puttenham and Wanborough

Church of England Diocese: Guildford


The monument includes a univallate hillfort situated on a greensand spur which
forms part of Puttenham Common. The hillfort defences enclose the spur end,
forming a north-south aligned, sub-rectangular interior area of around 2ha.
The most impressive defences are to the east, where they were constructed
across the level ground which forms the neck of the spur. They survive as a
bank up to 12m wide and 2m high, flanked by an outer ditch up to 8m wide and
0.75m deep. The northern and southern ramparts were designed to accentuate the
naturally sloping spur edges, whilst the steep sided, western edge of the spur
made the construction of artificial defences in this area unnecessary. Access
to the interior was by way of a simple, causewayed, 13m wide gap through the
central part of the ramparts. The defences have been disturbed in places by
the subsequent construction and use of more recent tracks and paths. Buried
remains associated with the original use of the monument, including traces of
houses, compounds, granaries and storage pits, can be expected to survive
within the hillfort's interior.

The monument shows signs of later remodelling and reuse, represented by a 7m
wide, roughly north-south aligned, curving bank constructed across the western
side of the hillfort. This has been dated to the medieval period, when the
hillfort may have been in use as a stock enclosure.

The western half of the hillfort has been quite heavily disturbed by the
construction of a group of slit trenches and pits during World War II, when
the spur formed part of an army training area.

All modern fences which cross the monument, and the two wooden waymarker posts
situated on the western side of the hillfort, are excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath them 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

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 subsequent disturbance, Hillbury hillfort survives comparatively
well and will retain important archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to its construction and original use.

Source: Historic England

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