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Slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, 750m east of Holwell Lodge

A Scheduled Monument in Holbeton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.3384 / 50°20'18"N

Longitude: -3.9356 / 3°56'8"W

OS Eastings: 262352.754397

OS Northings: 50514.109393

OS Grid: SX623505

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.W2V5

Mapcode Global: FRA 28N4.LKQ

Entry Name: Slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, 750m east of Holwell Lodge

Scheduled Date: 14 January 1959

Last Amended: 20 July 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019782

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33768

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Holbeton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a
slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, located on gently sloping
ground on the south side of a hilltop, and two outworks. The site's prominent
location gives it dramatic views down the Erme estuary to the south. Several
other local hillforts can be seen from the ramparts.
The hillfort has an ovoid central enclosure with a single rampart, and
measures 280m long by 220m wide across the outer limits of the visible
earthworks. It straddles the 80m and 90m contours, with its highest point of
96m on the north side. The rampart includes a bank, outer ditch and
counterscarp. The bank survives best on the north side, rising from the
interior between 0.8m at its west end and 2.3m at its east. It is an average
of 7m wide, but is from 10m to 12m wide by 2.6m high at the north east corner.
The east, south and west rampart banks are fossilised into later hedgebanks,
but survive mainly as scarps about 5m wide, falling to the outer ditch from
0.4m on the north side to 1.6m on the south. The ditch has largely been
filled in and is now on average 15m wide and 0.2m deep on the south, west and
east sides. On the north side, a modern track follows the ditch which is 0.4m
deep and 10m wide at its west end and 0.8m at its east, where it is only 6m
wide. A counterscarp bank here is up to 8m wide and 0.4m high, but has been
reduced by ploughing elsewhere.
There are four entrances, of which one is modern. This is on the south side
and directly enters the fort interior. Of the original entrances, one is at
the north east corner, where a causeway crosses the ditch and passes through a
gap in the rampart. The ramparts are staggered here, the bank to the west
being 8m forward of the other. A second entrance to the north west has a
curving hornwork outside, forming a semi-circle 41m wide and projecting up to
30m from the rampart. Its bank is 10m wide and survives up to 0.6m high. An
outer ditch up to 15m wide and 0.2m deep is visible on the east side of this
hornwork. A third entrance, now blocked, lies on the west side. At this
point traces of a causeway 6m wide are visible, crossing the outer ditch. A
hollow way descends the field to the west.
Two outworks are preserved in later field boundaries to the north and west of
the hillfort. That to the west survives as a scarped bank 200m long and 3m
wide, falling steeply up to 3.5m to a largely infilled outer ditch which is
10m wide and 0.4m deep. It curves sharply to follow the contour at its south
end, but then disappears. A farm track climbs up the rampart here at an
angle. It gradually disappears at its north end, a later hedgebank continuing
around the contour. This boundary follows the rampart line to a point north
of the hillfort, where a second section of outwork survives. This section is
210m long and 3m wide, falling steeply up to 2.5m from the field into a ditch
2m wide and 1m deep. The hedgebank follows the outer edge of this ditch,
appearing to form a counterscarp bank in places 2m wide and up to 1.2m high.
This falls steeply up to 5m and a woodland track follows its lower edge. At
its eastern end the rampart disappears, but the track continues along the
contour to the east into Yarninknowle Wood.
All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them 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

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 some damage to its ramparts, the Iron Age hillfort known as Holbury
Camp is well-preserved. Its ramparts, surrounding ditch, hornwork and
interior will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to
the hillfort and the landscape in which it was built. Despite partial
reduction, the outer ramparts remain of importance in understanding the
development of the site.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fox, A, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in 23rd report on early history of Devon, , Vol. 87, (1955), 323-324
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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