Prestonbury Castle (hillfort)
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1003861
Date first listed: 26-Nov-1928
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 74774 90045
Small multivallate hillfort called Prestonbury Castle.
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. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which are either simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages. Small multivallate hillforts are important for understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite historic cultivation Prestonbury Castle survives well, particularly given its location on Dartmoor where a hillfort on such a scale is very unusual. It will contain important archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, use and landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 29 October 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 situated on a prominent ridge known as Prestonbury Common overlooking the valleys of the River Teign and a tributary to it. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure with a second narrow elliptical enclosure to the east and a third far wider enclosed area to the north and east. The inner enclosure measures 150m long by 93m wide and occupies the summit of the ridge with steep natural slopes to the south and west. It is defined by a rampart. There is a slightly inturned entrance on the eastern side. The middle enclosure, which is triangular in shape measures up to 100m long by 60m wide internally. It is defined by a rampart and partially buried outer ditch and has a simple gap entrance slightly to the north of east. The outer enclosure divides the summit of Prestonbury Common from the rest of the ridge with a curving strongly built rampart with outer ditch and encloses an area measuring up to 280m long by 150m wide. An inturned entrance lies to the north east.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: DV 151
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 445780
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