An Iron Age univallate hillfort called Berisbury Camp 120m south-east of Old Lodge
Reasons for Designation
Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Despite damage to the earthworks by later activity such as chalk quarrying, the Iron Age univallate hillfort called Berisbury Camp survives well and is a good example of its type. The site holds potential for archaeological investigation, which will enhance our understanding of this class of monument. It will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction and occupation of the hillfort, as well as the landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 June 2014. 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.
The monument includes an Iron Age univallate hillfort, known as Berisbury Camp, in three separate areas of protection surviving as earthworks and below-ground remains. It is situated on a chalk ridge south-east of Conholt Park and commands views over valleys to the north-east and south-west.
The hillfort is oval in shape and encloses an area of 1.7 hectares (4.2 acres). The earthworks include a bank and external ditch, which together are about 17m wide. The ditch is approximately 1m deep and the bank is 1.3m high above the interior and 2.8m above the bottom of the ditch. However both the bank and ditch have been levelled in places and mutilated by later chalk workings, particularly at the north. On the west side of the hillfort there is a berm between the bank and ditch. This may be because the original bank has been partly levelled and replaced by a later, and slighter, boundary bank. An interruption in the bank and ditch at the east of the enclosure may indicate a possible causewayed entrance. There are also breaks in the earthworks at the north-east and south-west although it is not clear to what extent these are original features or the result of later activity. The hillfort is cut by Hungerford Lane, this part of which is aligned on the course of a Roman Road, running north-west to south-east. The road is not included in the scheduling as it has not been assessed.