Hillfort known as Herefordshire Beacon Camp, 960m east of Ockeridge Farm.
Reasons for Designation
Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Despite partial afforestation and the insertion of pathways, the hillfort known as Herefordshire Beacon Camp survives comparatively well with substantial earthworks. The hillfort is of considerable significance and is a good example of a prominent multi-phased defensive site. The hillfort will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the use, construction and occupation.
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 large univallate hillfort, a medieval ringwork, bailey and pillow mound situated in a commanding position on the Beacon and Millennium Hills, west of the River Severn. The monument survives as the visible earthworks and buried features of an irregular elongated enclosure encompassing the top of two hills that is orientated north to south, approximately 870m long and up to 270m wide tapering near the centre. The enclosure is denoted by a bank up to 3m high with an associated external quarry ditch up to 21m wide with four inturned entrance gaps on the east, west, south and north eastern sides. About 120 hut circles have been identified within the hillfort and these are between 4.5m and 12m in diameter. Within the northern half of the enclosure is a sub-circular ringwork measuring approximately 225m in diameter defined by a scarped mound, rampart and surrounding ditch. The ringwork has entrance gaps on the south western and northern sides. The south western entrance was the site of the main gate and is denoted by two mounds that flank the gap. A bailey is located to the east of the ringwork and is denoted by a bank and ditch. The pillow mound is situated to the south of the fort and survives as a sub-rectangular mound measuring 25m long by 7m wide with external ditches on the south, east and western sides.
Excavations have revealed Iron Age and Roman pottery in the outer ditch of the hillfort and medieval structures from within the ringwork and bailey. A 10th century golden coronet inlaid with precious stones was found at the northern edge of the fort. The site is known as both Herefordshire Beacon Camp and British Camp and the ringwork is known as The Citadel.
Further archaeological features survive in the vicinity of the monument, but are not currently protected because they have not been formally assessed. The Shire Ditch abuts the hillfort on the south eastern side and is protected separately as scheduled monument 1003812 (HE244).