Ancient Monuments

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Berry Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Woolfardisworthy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.8704 / 50°52'13"N

Longitude: -3.7045 / 3°42'16"W

OS Eastings: 280161.742082

OS Northings: 109264.250843

OS Grid: SS801092

Mapcode National: GBR L6.TKCG

Mapcode Global: FRA 364S.SQH

Entry Name: Berry Castle

Scheduled Date: 30 June 1959

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019541

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34255

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Woolfardisworthy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Woolfardisworthy East St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated just beneath the
summit of a ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Creedy.
The monument survives as a `D'-shaped enclosure defined to the north and west
by a rampart and ditch and having the ramparts integrated into later field
boundaries to the south and east. The enclosed area measures up to 125m long
north to south by up to 95m wide east to west. The whole slopes gently to the
south. To the north and west the hillfort is defined by a rampart which
measures up to 2.6m high internally and up to 3m high externally. This has
been cut by an old established field entrance in the north western corner.
Beyond the ramparts on these two sides is a largely buried ditch which is
clearly visible measuring up to 6.5m wide and 0.5m deep. There is a splayed
entrance through the rampart on the western side which measures up to 10.4m
wide and has been blocked for some time. To the south the ditch peters out,
becoming preserved as a completely buried feature, whilst the rampart has
become integrated into the extant field boundary which measures up to 1.5m
high. There is also an access gate in the centre of the southern side. To the
east the rampart is again defined by the field boundary, although this and the
outer ditch have been cut by the private road which runs alongside at this
point. There is a second entrance on the eastern side, which remains in use as
a field access; this is defined by slightly incurving low banks beside the
gateway, and indicates the integration of the rampart into the field
boundary at this point. The field boundary on this side is up to 1.1m high.
The field boundary banks to the south and east should be viewed as an integral
part of the monument since they are probably formed from rampart material; for
this reason these features are included within the scheduling. The buried
ditch on the eastern side which has been cut significantly by the road, and
the road itself, are not included in the scheduling.
The three sets of gateposts at the present entrances and the stock-proof
fences both on the interior and exterior sides of the ramparts are excluded
form the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

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 disturbance of the interior and reduction in the sizes of the ramparts
through cultivation and the cutting of a road, Berry Castle survives
comparatively well and will contain archaeological information relating to the
construction and use of the monument as well as environmental evidence
concerning the local area throughout the later prehistoric and historic

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS80NW2, (1997)

Source: Historic England

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