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. They are a relatively rare class of hillfort and are important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Despite some quarrying and past cultivation, the slight univallate hillfort 190m north west of Westleigh survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, trade, agricultural practices, social organisation, territorial significance, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort, situated on the summit of the extremely prominent Solsbury Hill, overlooking the valleys of the River Avon, Lam Brook and St Catherine's Brook. The hillfort survives as a roughly-triangular enclosure defined by a single drystone faced rampart bank on all except the north side where there is also a ditch. A single inturned entrance is visible on the north west. Excavations from 1955-8 revealed timber huts which had been constructed during the creation of the ramparts and were later replaced by stone hut circles. The main period of occupation was in the 2nd century BC. Two human inhumations were discovered within the interior in 1906, and other finds have included arrow heads, spindle whorls, pottery, charcoal and some iron and bronze artefacts. The interior was used for cultivation during the medieval period and has a distinctive field system of strips defined by earthworks.
Sources: PastScape203323, 203352 and 203668