Posbury camp, Castle Down


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Mid Devon (District Authority)
Crediton Hamlets
National Grid Reference:
SX 80831 97159


Small multivallate hillfort known as Posbury Camp.

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Small multivallate hillforts are important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite reduction in the heights of parts of the outer defences through cultivation and the construction of a road, Posbury Camp survives comparatively well and will contain important archaeological end environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. This 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 a small multivallate hillfort known as Posbury Camp situated on a prominent hill called Castle Down overlooking the valley of the River Yeo and having extensive views in all directions. The monument survives as an elliptical enclosure measuring up to 145m long by 139m wide internally with triple rampart and ditch defences to the south. Elsewhere the outer defences survive largely as buried features, cropmarks or fossilised within field boundaries. The interior of the hillfort has several apparent surface undulations. The inner rampart is best preserved to the south and measures up to 3.2m high, to the west and east it underlies massive field boundary banks. On the inner side of this rampart is a lynchet up to 2m wide and 0.4m high. The first ditch is up to 4m wide. The middle rampart is up to 3m high, but reduced to the east and west. A second ditch up to 4m wide lies between the middle and outer rampart. The outer rampart attains a maximum height of 3.2m to the south and to the west survives as a lynchet. To the north, where the natural slope is steepest, a deeply set road marks the outer defences. Posbury is thought to be the site of the Battle of Posentesburh in 661 AD where the invading Saxons fought the Dumnonii.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
DV 278
Legacy System:


PastScape Monument No:- 447429


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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