Ancient Monuments

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Castle Close

A Scheduled Monument in Washfield, Devon

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Latitude: 50.9527 / 50°57'9"N

Longitude: -3.5145 / 3°30'52"W

OS Eastings: 293718.15181

OS Northings: 118121.100148

OS Grid: SS937181

Mapcode National: GBR LG.NCGR

Mapcode Global: FRA 36JL.GMX

Entry Name: Castle Close

Scheduled Date: 9 April 1964

Last Amended: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020037

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34257

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Washfield

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Washfield St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on a prominent
hill overlooking the valleys of two separate tributaries to the River Lowman
with commanding and widespread views in all directions across the surrounding
The monument survives as a sub-circular enclosure defined by a single rampart,
integrated into the existing field pattern and surrounded by an outer ditch.
The enclosed area measures approximately 170m in diameter and is surrounded by
a rampart which measures up to 2.4m high externally and 1.1m high internally,
being slightly higher to the north. The rampart shows signs of having been
revetted with stone walling in several places to effect repairs. Two gateways
have been cut through the rampart to facilitate access, one on the north east
side and a second to the south.
The original entrance lies on the western side where two banks define an
inturned entrance, which is most impressive on the northern side, measuring up
to 1.2m high. The entrance itself has been blocked. The surrounding ditch is
basically preserved as a buried feature up to 5m wide and mainly observed as a
flat area surrounding the rampart. The field boundaries which form the rampart
are included within the scheduling.
The stock proof fencing around the rampart, and the gateposts are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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 reduction in the heights of the ramparts and slight disturbance to the
interior through cultivation, Castle Close hillfort survives well and will
contain archaeological information relating to its construction and use as
well as environmental evidence concerning the local area at the time of the
hillfort's occupation.

Source: Historic England


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS91NW3, (1998)

Source: Historic England

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