Multivallate hillfort known as Walterstone Camp, 830m east of the Church of St. Mary.
Reasons for Designation
Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Despite site clearance, partial ploughing and the crossing of pathways and fences, the multivallate hillfort known as Walterstone Camp survives comparatively well with some unusual earthworks. The hillfort and earthworks will contain important archaeological information relating to the use, construction and occupation of the monument in addition to providing environmental evidence.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 May 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
This monument includes the remains of a small multivallate hillfort situated in a commanding position on a slightly sloping hilltop on a spur overlooking a bend in the River Monnow. The monument survives as the visible earthworks and buried features of a small multivallate hillfort with a mound, building platform and ditches to the north east. The hillfort enclosure is sub circular in plan and approximately 220m in diameter with entrance gaps in the north eastern and south western sides. The hillfort is defined by a series of three concentric earthwork ramparts with associated quarry ditches except on the south western and north western sides where the inner rampart is replaced by a scarp. The inner bank is up to 3.2m high from the base of the ditch and the outer bank is about 2.6m high. The central ditch is lower than the inner and outer ditches. The interior of the hillfort slopes gently to the south west overlooking the river valley and is about 160m in diameter. A mound, building platform and ditches are located 10m to the north east of the outer ditch of the hillfort. The mound is sub circular in plan and measures approximately 27m long and 18m wide.
Situated to the north of the mound is a building platform that is about 35m long and 8m wide, orientated north west to south east and flanked by two parallel linear ditches that are about 40m long and 10m apart.
The hillfort was constructed in the first century BC and the mound and ditches to the north east are thought to be the site of an early church dedicated to St. Ailsworth that was mentioned here in 1754. The camp was turned into a garden in about 1900.
Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity of the monument, but are not currently protected because they have not been formally assessed.