Slight univallate hillfort, 410m NNE of Grange Park Methodist Church.
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 having been part-mutilated and levelled, the slight univallate hillfort 410m NNE of Grange Park Methodist Church is a rare example of its type, which survives comparatively well with much of the western rampart remaining. It has only been partially excavated and retains potential for further investigation, which will provide archaeological information and environmental evidence relating to the hillfort and the landscape in which it was constructed.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 September 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 the remains of a slight univallate hillfort surviving as earthworks and archaeological remains. It is situated on the crest of a broad low hill at Bush Hill Park Golf Course, west of New River.
Only the western half of the defences, denoted by a bank and ditch, survive as earthworks. It is sub-circular in form and about 120m in diameter. The rampart survives on the west and north-west sides of the hillfort, although the external ditch has been slightly narrowed and shaped by skirting development. The rampart diminishes towards the south-west and north-east where it is up to 0.75m high and the ditch is largely in-filled. In the early 20th century the rampart was recorded as up to 2.5m high above the bottom of the ditch. The east side of the hillfort was mutilated and flattened by the construction and associated landscaping of Old Park House, now the golf club house, in the 18th century. The car park and service buildings to the club house also cover the south-east side of the hillfort.
In 1850, a fibula, pieces of bronze and a fragment of pudding stone were found when a drain was cut through the ditch. Roman coins of Domitian (AD 81-96), Trajan (AD 98-117) and Hadrian (AD 117-38) have also apparently been found at the site in the 19th or early 20th centuries. Partial excavation in 1956, revealed some of the composition of the defences comprising a shallow 'U' shaped ditch in front of a plain gravel rampart. However no substantive evidence was recovered relating to the occupation and date of the hillfort.