Ancient Monuments

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Hillfort 320m north east of Castle Barn Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Dowdeswell, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.8707 / 51°52'14"N

Longitude: -2.0036 / 2°0'12"W

OS Eastings: 399849.926245

OS Northings: 219121.039471

OS Grid: SO998191

Mapcode National: GBR 2MM.Q87

Mapcode Global: VHB1Y.774S

Entry Name: Hillfort 320m north east of Castle Barn Farm

Scheduled Date: 8 November 1928

Last Amended: 29 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018170

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31183

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Dowdeswell

Traditional County: Gloucestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire

Church of England Parish: Dowdeswell and Andoversford

Church of England Diocese: Gloucester


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on a north west
facing spur. The hillfort has a sub-rectangular interior of approximately 6ha
which slopes gently to the north west and which is divided by a probably
medieval lynchet. Surrounding the enclosed area, on the north west, south
west and south sides, is a single rampart, comprising, for the most part, a
bank and an outer ditch. These are best preserved on the south west side where
the bank is 8m wide and up to 1.5m high and the ditch, which is in use as a
track, is 7.5m wide and 1.4m deep. Along part of the north west side there is
a low, 0.3m high, counter scarp bank outside of the ditch but elsewhere on
this side the defences have been ploughed and are only visible as a low scarp.
On the south side, only slight traces of the ditch are visible although it
will continue to survive as a buried feature. On the north east side, the
hillfort follows the contour of the steep sided spur, alongside which runs a
probably medieval trackway, 9m wide, which may occupy the site of an earlier
defensive ditch. The original entrance is likely to have been in the south
east corner.
Although the appearance of the site as a hillfort suggests an Iron Age date,
both Roman and medieval pottery have been recovered from the interior.
All modern field boundaries and all gates are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath these features 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 cultivation erosion, the slight univallate hillfort 320m north east of
Castle Barn Farm will contain archaeological and environmental remains
relating to the hillfort, the landscape in which it was constructed and its
subsequent use.

Source: Historic England

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