Ancient Monuments

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Enclosure in Brandis Wood, 175m north of Longham

A Scheduled Monument in Brentor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6323 / 50°37'56"N

Longitude: -4.1562 / 4°9'22"W

OS Eastings: 247607.464557

OS Northings: 83617.032432

OS Grid: SX476836

Mapcode National: GBR NW.9D9G

Mapcode Global: FRA 275D.JNQ

Entry Name: Enclosure in Brandis Wood, 175m north of Longham

Scheduled Date: 15 April 1977

Last Amended: 29 September 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018497

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30328

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Brentor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Bridestowe

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes an oval ditched enclosure, known as a hilltop
enclosure, situated on the northern side of the valley of the River Lyd within
Brandis Wood. The monument survives as an oval enclosure which internally
measures 42.9m long from north to south and 40.1m wide from east to west. The
whole is enclosed by a substantial 5.1m wide bank standing up to 2m high.
Beyond the bank is an external ditch which measures up to 5.2m wide and 1.6m
deep. There is an apparent entrance on the southern side and the site as a
whole slopes from east to west.

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

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

Despite afforestation, the enclosure in Brandis Wood, 175m north of Longham
survives well and provides information concerning the character of Iron Age
occupation on the fringes of Dartmoor. This enclosure is one of a group of
three similar sites lying within the Lyd valley.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Silvester, R J, Balkwill, C J, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Hill-Slope Enclosures In The Lyd Valley, West Devon, , Vol. 35, (1977), 81-4

Source: Historic England

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