Ancient Monuments

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Woolsbarrow, a hillfort on Bloxworth Heath

A Scheduled Monument in Morden, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.7325 / 50°43'56"N

Longitude: -2.1528 / 2°9'10"W

OS Eastings: 389308.397516

OS Northings: 92551.34885

OS Grid: SY893925

Mapcode National: GBR 20V.VZX

Mapcode Global: FRA 67C4.R3Y

Entry Name: Woolsbarrow, a hillfort on Bloxworth Heath

Scheduled Date: 26 February 1962

Last Amended: 21 January 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018437

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29086

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Morden

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Bloxworth St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Woolsbarrow,
situated on a flat-topped knoll on Bloxworth Heath, a plateau separating the
rivers Sherford to the east and Piddle to the west.
The hillfort, which is defined by a single rampart situated about 6m below the
top of the knoll, encloses an area of about 0.63ha. The rampart includes a
ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the
monument. The ditch has become partially infilled, but is now visible as an
intermittent earthwork 3.2m wide and about 0.5m deep. This is flanked by an
outer counterscarp bank, also visible as an intermittent earthwork between
5m-6m wide and about 0.5m high. Where the bank has been reduced, its course is
marked by a terrace up to 10m wide.
The eastern part of the interior of the hillfort has been subjected to sand
and gravel extraction, and this area of the hillfort interior is now
approximaely 1.2m lower than the western and north western areas, and only the
lower levels of deep archaeological features, such as storage pits, will
survive. The mound situated within the north eastern part of the hillfort is
thought to represent a spoil heap produced by sand and gravel quarrying, while
the group of irregular mounds situated on the north western side of the
hillfort are natural features.

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.

Despite sand and gravel extraction from within the interior, much of
Woolsbarrow survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Mention natural mounds to the west, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mounds not barrows as thought by OS, RCHME, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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