Ancient Monuments

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Hillfort at Castle Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Burley, Hampshire

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Latitude: 50.8345 / 50°50'4"N

Longitude: -1.7192 / 1°43'8"W

OS Eastings: 419872.502226

OS Northings: 103927.462172

OS Grid: SU198039

Mapcode National: GBR 547.Q5L

Mapcode Global: FRA 769W.L2S

Entry Name: Hillfort at Castle Hill

Scheduled Date: 3 October 1960

Last Amended: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017889

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31153

County: Hampshire

Civil Parish: Burley

Traditional County: Hampshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Hampshire


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated within the New
Forest at the steep western edge of a gravel plateau overlooking the Dorset
moorland 30m below. It stands on gravel soils overlying clay and sand. The
roughly circular hillfort encloses an area of about 2ha beyond which the
ground drops steeply to the west and north but is level to the east and south.
Despite gravel digging within the monument during the 19th century, the
defences survive around most of the circumference of the hillfort as a bank
raised approximately 0.6m-2m above the interior and 2.5m-4.5m above a
surrounding infilled ditch and low counterscarp bank. To the north the
counterscarp bank is extended and the ramparts are partially out-turned and
staggered either side of a narrow entrance through which a modern gravel road,
Castle Hill Lane, now passes. The ramparts are of uniform size around the
circumference but are relatively slight on the western side where they have
been most affected by gravel digging and erosion. They are cut by the road to
the south and south east and by a hollow way to the west. The eastern rampart
has been clipped and the associated ditch has been infilled and counterscarp
bank levelled by the construction of a later boundary bank and ditch. The
interior of the hillfort is relatively level and undisturbed to the east but
has been lowered 1m-2m and deeply pitted by the gravel digging in the centre
and to the west. Ponds and bogs have now formed in some of the gravel pits.
The gravel road, which forks within the monument and the fence and electricity
substation located where the road cuts the ramparts to the south east, are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 at Castle Hill survives comparatively well despite some
disturbance to the interior by gravel digging. The ramparts and much of the
interior of the hillfort remain sufficiently undisturbed to indicate that they
retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to
the original construction of the monument, its later use and the landscape in
which it was situated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of the New Forest, (1917), 21-23
Williams-Freeman, J, Field Archaeology of Hampshire, (1914), 199 362
O.S. 25 in plan, annotated 1954, 1997, (1940)

Source: Historic England

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