Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Hilltop enclosure at Yellowberries Copse, 430m west of Higher Turtley

A Scheduled Monument in Ugborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4128 / 50°24'46"N

Longitude: -3.8422 / 3°50'31"W

OS Eastings: 269207.329102

OS Northings: 58612.385075

OS Grid: SX692586

Mapcode National: GBR QC.HGRF

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VY.T3W

Entry Name: Hilltop enclosure at Yellowberries Copse, 430m west of Higher Turtley

Scheduled Date: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019325

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33763

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ugborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ugborough St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a prehistoric hilltop enclosure, located on a steep
north facing hillside. It commands a high and prominent location with
extensive local views, notably of several other prehistoric enclosures on
Dartmoor to the north.
The enclosure is ovoid, lying along the contour which is aligned north east to
south west. The interior, which is 90m wide by 100m long, is defined by
ramparts which survive best on the north and east sides. Here the bank is 8m
wide and stands between 0.4m and 1m high, and the outer ditch is up to 10m
wide and from 0.5m to 0.9m deep. A hedgebank follows the outer ditch along the
south, east and north sides. On the south side is the original entrance, now
abandoned. Here, the rampart thickens to 16m wide and bends into the
enclosure, standing up to 1.2m high.
While the outer ditch on the west side is obscured, the rampart is visible as
a change in the slope, up to 9m wide and 1.8m high. Towards its north end,
the ditch becomes visible as a terrace whose outer edge slopes steeply away
down the hill. The interior slopes down steeply to the north west with two
earthwork terraces running across the site. Both are 15m wide and up to 2m
high. A medieval hollow way climbs the hillside from the north and passes
outside the rampart to the north west. Here it forms part of the scheduling.
All modern track surfaces and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling,
although the ground beneath 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

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 some infilling of the ditch, the hilltop enclosure at Yellowberries
Copse survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental
information relating to its construction and use, the landscape in which it
was built, and the economy of those who used it.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Wall, J, The Victoria History of the County, (1906), 612
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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