Ancient Monuments

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Pierce Wood Camps

A Scheduled Monument in Tidenham, Gloucestershire

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Latitude: 51.6601 / 51°39'36"N

Longitude: -2.6731 / 2°40'23"W

OS Eastings: 353536

OS Northings: 195911

OS Grid: ST535959

Mapcode National: GBR JM.6N90

Mapcode Global: VH87M.MJ6R

Entry Name: Pierce Wood Camps

Scheduled Date: 4 December 1931

Source: Cadw

Source ID: 598

Cadw Legacy ID: MM020

Schedule Class: Defence

Category: Hillfort

Period: Prehistoric

County: Gloucestershire

Civil Parish: Tidenham

Built-Up Area: Woodcroft

Traditional County: Monmouthshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Gloucestershire


The monument comprises the remains of two defended enclosures, which probably date to the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC - AD 74, the Roman conquest of Wales). Defended enclosures are usually located on high ground and are protected by artificial ramparts consisting of banks and ditches.

The two enclosures lie on the left bank of the river Wye at the top of a precipitous slope above the river. The river here is flowing in a north-easterly direction.

Enclosure A - This is the smaller of the two enclosures and the most westerly one. It consists of a roughly square area enclosed on the west, east and south sides by a bank, and on the north side by the natural scarp above the river. On the east side the bank is 1.5m high on the outside and 0.5m high on the inside at its southern end. Further north there is only a scarp which becomes a near vertical drop towards the north end. On the south side the bank continues at 1.5m high, and there is a gap in the middle. The bank is higher to the west of the gap, c. 2m high, and continues round the west side where it gradually decreases in height to c. 0.6m at its northern end. The interior slopes gently towards the south. Half way along the north side is a standing stone 1.5m high, and next to the path on the east side is a small stone garden building: a grotto. This is a relic from the 18th century landscaping at Piercefield.

Enclosure B - This is the most easterly of the two camps. It is much larger than Enclosure A and occupies a long stretch of ground at the top of the scarp above the river. The ground slopes away steeply on the NW, NE and SE sides. On the NW side it is defended by the natural scarp alone. The main defences are on the SW side, where the ground slopes away less steeply. The banks are composed of large stones, now somewhat spread and tumbled, but still massive and clearly defined. Running from the scarp on the NW in a south-easterly direction is a large bank 1-1.5m high on the inside and 5-6m high on the outside. This ends in a wider promontory. East of this there are two hollows, c. 1m deep in the bank, which is wider and more spread here. The bank then continues around the end and along the SE side, at the same height. Enclosing the SW end of the camp is a low stone bank which runs north-westwards from the bank along the SE side. This peters out before it reaches the NW side. The stone bank continues along the SE side and round the NE side to the scarp. Below it is a berm which narrows and stops at the SW end by the hollow. At this end it becomes a shallow ditch with slight external bank (earth). Below this, along the southern end of the SE side is a near vertical drop to a large ditch c. 1.5m deep on the outside. This cliff continues around the northern end, but without the ditch.

Outside the bank on the SW side the shallow ditch (c. 1m deep on the outside) continues round the end, becoming narrower, and peters out before the scarp. Outside it is a further bank (earth), with a very slight internal height and an external height of 2.5m. Outside it is a ditch c. 2m wide and 1.5m deep on the outside. These continue almost to the edge of the scarp but stop, leaving a narrow neck. There are no visible features in the interior, which slopes gently NW-SE and SW-NE.

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of later prehistoric defensive organisation and settlement. The site forms an important element within the wider later prehistoric context and within the surrounding landscape. The site is well preserved and retains considerable archaeological potential. There is a strong probability of the presence of evidence relating to chronology, building techniques and functional detail.

The scheduled area comprises the remains described and areas around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive.

Source: Cadw

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