Ancient Monuments

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Castle Howe hillfort, Little Langdale

A Scheduled Monument in Coniston, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4202 / 54°25'12"N

Longitude: -3.0845 / 3°5'4"W

OS Eastings: 329723.637546

OS Northings: 503293.810749

OS Grid: NY297032

Mapcode National: GBR 6KXB.07

Mapcode Global: WH716.L5D7

Entry Name: Castle Howe hillfort, Little Langdale

Scheduled Date: 7 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019747

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22566

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Coniston

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Langdale Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes Castle Howe hillfort. It is located on Castle Howe, an
area of high ground springing abruptly from Little Langdale valley, with a
rocky knoll forming the highest point. The ground falls preciptously from this
knoll in all directions and access to the summit can only be gained by a steep
6m scramble up the western face.
On the northern and southern sides of the knoll, just below the summit, there
are rectangular levelled areas, the former measuring approximately 6m by 3m,
the latter measuring approximately 8m by 5m, which are interpreted as
artificial hut platforms. At the base of the knoll's western face is the first
of a series of four rock cut ditches dug across a spur of relatively level
high ground extending towards the west; it measures approximately 4m wide by
1.3m deep. The second ditch measures approximately 5m wide by 1m deep and
terminates at its northern end in a sub-rectangular rock-cut levelled area
measuring approximately 17m by 13m. At the northern end of this levelled area
is a rock-cut circular area measuring approximately 4m in diameter which is
interpreted as a hut circle. A short distance to the east is a second,
slightly smaller, similar feature. The third ditch measures 3m-9m wide by 1.3m
deep and also terminates at its northern end in a rectangular rock-cut
levelled area measuring approximately 7m by 5m. The outer ditch on the knoll's
western side measures 7m wide by 1.5m deep. At the base of the knoll's eastern
face are two rock-cut ditches; the inner measuring 19m wide by 0.8m deep, the
outer measuring 8m wide by 1m deep. The southern end of both these ditches
connects with a rock-cut levelled area of 10 sq m. The site lies at the
eastern end of Wrynose Pass. It overlooks the Roman road from Ambleside to
Ravenglass and a medieval moot, or meeting place, at Fell Foot.

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

Nucleated hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape which
are located on hilltops or distinctive craggy knolls and have an internal area
of less than 1ha. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more
lines of closely set earthworks, usually ditches with or without adjacent
banks or ramparts. These entirely surround the interior except on sites
located on promontories or rocky knolls, where cliffs may form one or more
sides of the monument. The layout of the site is heavily dependant upon the
topography of the location. The core area of the site, where the main living
accommodation was provided, occupies the highest position on the hill or crag.
Additional living or working areas are also frequently located between or
within the surrounding earthworks and may take the form of rock-cut levelled
areas. They are of Iron Age date and are contemporary with other more common
hillfort types. Some, however, may have been reused or have been new
constructions in post-Roman times.
Castle Howe hillfort is a good example of this class of monument. It survives
well and will retain evidence of the activities undertaken within the site and
the defensive methods utilised. Its spatial association with a medieval moot
suggests this area has a long tradition as an assembly point for the wider

Source: Historic England


SMR No. 14971, Cumbria SMR, Castle Howe, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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