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Two prehistoric hilltop enclosures, a ditch system and four bowl barrows, 300m north of Barton Pines Inn

A Scheduled Monument in Blatchcombe, Torbay

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4424 / 50°26'32"N

Longitude: -3.6229 / 3°37'22"W

OS Eastings: 284856.044027

OS Northings: 61542.109443

OS Grid: SX848615

Mapcode National: GBR QQ.5JWD

Mapcode Global: FRA 379W.GDG

Entry Name: Two prehistoric hilltop enclosures, a ditch system and four bowl barrows, 300m north of Barton Pines Inn

Scheduled Date: 21 June 1976

Last Amended: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020162

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33796

County: Torbay

Electoral Ward/Division: Blatchcombe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Marldon St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Details

This monument includes four Late Neolithic to Bronze Age bowl barrows,
overlaid by a complex group of prehistoric settlement and stock enclosures
surrounding two hilltop enclosures. It is located on a flat hilltop and
gentle west-facing slope, with wide views in all directions.
The monument survives as slight earthworks, some preserved in later
hedgebanks, with many buried features visible as cropmarks on aerial
photographs. The most prominent feature is a pair of large ovoid enclosures
whose broad banks and surrounding ditches lie on the hilltop and run down the
gradually steepening slope to the north. The northern of these enclosures is
surrounded by a bank which measures 20m wide and survives up to 0.5m high,
with an outer ditch 18m wide and 0.15m deep. It had three entrances, two of
which survive as breaks in the outer ditches visible as cropmarks on the south
and west sides, while the third survives within the wood at the northern edge
of the scheduling. Here, a curving hornwork measures 10m wide, rising 1m from
the interior and falling 2m into the steep valley to the north. The entrance
is 20m wide, with the north rampart of the enclosure projecting to flank the
hornwork and running along the contour to the west. Here it measures 10m wide,
rising 0.4m from the interior and falling 2.5m to the valley slope below. A
later hedgebank follows the rampart.
The second enclosure abuts the first on its south side and has ramparts and
ditches of similar size to the first. The ditch on the south side becomes a
pair of narrower ditches, joined at their terminals on either side of an
entrance, which measures 8m wide. A counterscarp bank on the west side
measures 20m wide and survives 0.5m high with a narrow outer ditch. This bank
projects beyond the north western corner of the enclosure to flank and protect
the western entrance to the northern enclosure.
An intermittent north-south aligned ditch 2m wide divides the southern
enclosure, and at its northern end against the outer ditch a small enclosure
15m square is surrounded by two shallow concentric ditches 1.5m wide. At the
south east corner of the enclosure, a hollow 15m diameter and 0.2m deep
remains damp throughout the year. A ring ditch is visible here as a cropmark
on aerial photographs, cut by the inner ditch on the west side of the
enclosure. It measures 8m in diameter and has a ditch 2m wide. This is likely
to represent a plough-levelled round barrow. To the south and west of the
site, straddling the road, is a series of complex ditched enclosures, visible
as cropmarks, with the banks faintly visible as a low earthworks. The largest
of these enclosures is aligned ENE to WSW and measures a maximum of 150m wide
and 410m long with a droveway 20m wide leading away from its eastern end. Its
banks survive best on the west end and north side where they measure 15m wide
and up to 0.5m high, with the outer ditch varying between 2m and 6m wide.
Double lines of ditch, visible as cropmarks on the south east side, show that
an inner ditch was also present, measuring 1m wide. An entrance was located on
the north west side, where a gap in the cropmark ditch is 8m wide. This is
interpreted as a stock enclosure. Three Late Neolithic to Bronze Age bowl
barrows lie close to this enclosure, surviving as low mounds between 35m and
45m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. One is respected by the enclosure's
northern bank, where it turns into the droveway.
On the west side of the site, the ground falls away at a shallow angle. Two
concentric rampart lines here respect the profile of the west side of the two
central enclosures. The first forms an intermediate rampart and lies between
40m and 70m from the inner enclosures, surviving as an abrupt change in slope,
followed by a later hedgebank. This falls 2m to an outer ditch 10m wide, 0.3m
deep and 240m long, which cuts across the long stock enclosure on the south
side of the site. The second has a bank 20m wide and up to 1m high with an
outer ditch 8m wide. This continues south of the road, where its bank measures
10m wide and 0.2m high. Here it forms a funnel with the southern stock
enclosure, before bending sharply away to the west. Between the two concentric
ramparts, traces of another ditched enclosure are visible as a cropmark,
abutting the intermediate rampart.
The modern road surfacings, fenceposts and a concrete reservoir on the south
side of the site are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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 damage by ploughing, the two prehistoric hilltop enclosures and their
associated ditch system 300m north of Barton Pines Inn survive well. Their
banks and ditches will contain stratified remains relating to their
construction and use; information necessary for the future understanding of
the monument.
Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments
dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples
belonging to the period 2400 to 1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or
rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials.
Despite ploughing, the barrows' mounds and surrounding ditches will contain
stratified remains relating to their construction and use. Central burials may
survive intact beneath the mounds.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Devon Air Photo Project, SMR, (1973)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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