Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Hillfort and medieval settlement in South Longridge Wood

A Scheduled Monument in Lydford, Devon

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.6349 / 50°38'5"N

Longitude: -4.1265 / 4°7'35"W

OS Eastings: 249712.557621

OS Northings: 83848.022778

OS Grid: SX497838

Mapcode National: GBR NX.97X8

Mapcode Global: FRA 277D.B6D

Entry Name: Hillfort and medieval settlement in South Longridge Wood

Scheduled Date: 13 April 1977

Last Amended: 16 November 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018518

English Heritage Legacy ID: 30349

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Lydford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Lydford St Petroc

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes an Iron age univallate hillfort with internal medieval
structures. It is situated on the top of a steep slope overlooking the valley
of the River Lyd to the south and a further steep valley to the north.
The hillfort survives as a rectangular enclosure defined by a rampart and
outer ditch, with medieval structures within which attest to subsequent reuse.
The enclosed area measures 66.5m long from north to south by 62m wide from
east to west. The outer ditch which surrounds the monument on three sides
measures up to 5.2m wide and 1.1m deep. To the north this ditch is replaced by
a steep natural scarp. The rampart measures up to 9m wide at the base and up
to 1.4m high internally. To the south an outer bank is also apparent above a
very steep natural slope, this measures up to 1.4m wide and 0.3m high. The
whole enclosure slopes gently to the north. There is an apparent entrance on
the eastern side.
Within the hillfort are a range of medieval structures. Central to the area is
a longhouse which measures internally 29.3m long, 6.3m wide and is defined by
low banks which measure up to 1.2m wide and 0.4m high. Surrounding this, on
all but the southern side, are a series of circular and oval pits and
depressions, as well as a two celled building and a square structure,
representing further traces of the sites's medieval occupation.

MAP EXTRACT
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 afforestation the hillfort in Longridge Wood 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 later
prehistoric enclosures lying within the Lyd valley.
The reuse of the hillfort in the medieval period is unusual and provides
evidence for continuity of occupation. The location of the hillfort and
settlement immediately above a rich alluvial tin deposit may suggest that they
were sited to take advantage of this resource.

Source: Historic England

Sources

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

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.