Hillfort known as Midsummer Hill Camp, 680m south west of Fairoaks 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. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.
Despite partial afforestation, excavation and the insertion of path ways, the hillfort known as Midsummer Hill Camp survives comparatively well with substantial earthworks and terracing. The hillfort is of considerable significance and is a good example of a prominent multivallate hillfort with evidence of long term settlement. The site will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the use, construction and occupation of the monument.
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 multivallate hillfort, defensive annex, dyke and pillow mound situated in a commanding position on Midsummer and Hollybush Hills, west of the River Severn. The monument survives as the visible earthworks and buried features of a hillfort, annex enclosure, terracing, stone hut circles, boundary dyke and pillow mound.
The hillfort enclosure is irregular in plan, approximately 370m long by 240m wide with two inturned entrance gaps on the northern and south western sides and three further modern gaps in the ramparts. The hillfort is denoted by double ramparts with associated external quarry ditches. Excavation has shown that the inner rampart bank is constructed of rubble with stone revetments and a stone floored guard house is situated near the southern entrance with similar guard buildings and bridges located along the rampart. The banks and ditches of the hillfort have been levelled at the southern end to form the entrance to the annex. The annex enclosure is situated to the south east of the hillfort and is approximately 360m long and 110m wide. The enclosure is denoted by a bank with an external quarry ditch on the southern and western sides and by a series of quarries on the eastern boundary.
Cut into the hillside are a series of terraces that contain approximately 400 stone hut circles each about 6m in diameter. Excavations of a stone hut circle revealed stone flooring, refuse and storage pits and evidence of metal working. A pillow mound is situated to the east of the southern entrance of the fort and is defined by a sub rectangular mound up to 0.7m high, 50m long and 8m wide with a surrounding 4.3m wide quarry ditch. Several linear features are located within and around the site including a boundary dyke that extends through the site joining the Shire Ditch at the north east of the hillfort. Excavations within the hillfort have revealed Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery and artefacts that show that the hillfort was established in the 5th century BC and was occupied for about 500 years.
Further archaeological remains including ridge and furrow survive within the vicinity of the monument, but are not currently protected because they have not been formally assessed. The Shire Ditch approaches the hillfort on its northern side and is protected separately as scheduled monument 1003537 (HE244).