Little Doward Camp


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 53977 15981


Multi period landscape 495m south west of Doward Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fence lines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites.

Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. They are important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. Their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.

A warren is an area of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares in order to provide a constant supply of fresh meat and skins. Although the hare is an indigenous species, the tradition of warren construction and use dates from the 12th century, following the introduction of rabbits into England from the continent. Warrens usually contain a number of purpose-built breeding places known as pillow mounds or rabbit buries, which were intended to centralise the colony and make catching the animals easier, whether using nets, ferrets or dogs. The mounds vary in design although rarely exceeding 0.7m in height. Earlier monuments such as burial mounds, boundary features and mottes were sometimes reused as breeding places. The mounds are usually surrounded by ditches and contain underlying channels or are situated on sloping ground to facilitate drainage. The interior of the mound may also contain nesting places constructed of stone slabs or cut into the underlying subsoil or bedrock.

The multi period landscape 495m south west of Doward Farm survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, funerary and ritual practices within the bowl barrows, agricultural practices, trade, domestic arrangements, adaptive re-use and the overall landscape context of this impressive hillside through time.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 19 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 a multi period landscape situated on the summit of the extremely prominent and steeply sloping Little Doward Hill overlooking the River Wye. The multi period landscape includes a large multivallate hillfort with outworks, two bowl barrows, pillow mounds, iron mine and quarry workings and earthworks associated with a 19th century pleasure ground.

The multivallate hillfort survives as the earthworks of an oval enclosure with an appended rectangular annexe to the south east. The main oval enclosure is defined by an inner rampart measuring up to 16m wide and 2.5m high, a medial ditch of up to 8m wide and 2m deep and an outer rampart of 6m to 8m wide and 1m up to 2m high on all except the south western side where there is only a single 7m wide and 1.5m high rampart above steep natural defences.

The interior contains a number of scoops thought to represent contemporary buildings. This area also contains at least two bowl barrows measuring up to 9m in diameter and 1m high surrounded by buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. Also present are a number of rectangular mounds similarly surrounded by quarry ditches. These are pillow mounds forming part of a rabbit warren and probably of medieval date. Further features include mine shafts and spoil tips from iron mines and quarry workings which were working up until the 1850’s. A survey of the rectangular annexe mainly defined by steep natural scarps revealed at least 30 Iron Age house platforms.

The earthworks as a whole were the subject of remodelling during the 19th century by Richard Blakemore who constructed a deer park and pleasure gardens and levelled some of the ramparts and other features as a result. This latter re-use left earthworks of carriage drives, grottos, standing stones, view points and the footings for an iron viewing tower.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
HE 26
Legacy System:


PastScape 109665, 1506314, 1506319, 1506323, and 109679, Herefordshire SMR 901


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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