Earlier prehistoric hillfort with outwork and outlying stone hut circle known as Berry Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Neot
National Grid Reference:

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Earlier prehistoric hillforts are large fortified settlement sites dating to the Neolithic period (c.3500-2000 BC). They may be recognized by single or multiple rubble walls or earthen banks enclosing all or part of a hilltop. The boundaries often vary in size, incorporate numerous small entrance gaps and commonly include substantial natural rock outcrops and scarps in their circuit. The hillfort enclosures, up to 10ha in extent, usually contain cleared and levelled house platforms. The few recent excavations of this class of monument have revealed large quantities of undisturbed Neolithic settlement debris including charcoal, flint artefacts, pottery and stone tools. Many of these finds or their raw materials were originally brought to the hillforts from considerable distances away. Excavations have also produced evidence for warfare at some sites. Extensive outworks are associated with most of these hillforts, either roughly concentric with the inner enclosure or connecting a series of related enclosures. Under twenty earlier prehistoric hillforts are known nationally, concentrated in the uplands of south-western England from the Cotswolds and Dorset to west Cornwall, with a very few isolated possible examples elsewhere in southern England. They are a very rare monument type, highly representative of their period as one of the major sources of information on social organisation and interaction during the Neolithic period. Despite surface quarrying and tin prospecting, the earlier prehistoric hillfort with outwork known as Berry Castle survives comparatively well. The importance and rarity of this monument and its archaeological potential and significance cannot be overemphasised; it will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, social organisation, function, longevity, re-use, agricultural practices, strategic importance, territorial significance, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.


The monument includes an earlier prehistoric hillfort with an outwork and outlying stone hut circle, situated close to the summit of the prominent hill Berry Down. The hillfort survives as a roughly-rectangular enclosure measuring 110m long by 82m wide. It is defined by a single rampart of stone and earth measuring up to 1.5m high which incorporates rock outcrops and utilises a natural rocky scarp to the south to form a second line of defence, with a single inturned entrance. To the south east a curving outwork, defined by a rampart bank of up to 1m high and enclosing a rough boulder strewn slope, is attached to the hillfort at the eastern end and runs into boulders and apparently terminates to the west. A hollow way leads from the inner entrance and cuts the outer rampart. Within the interior are at least nine stone hut circles or possible cairns measuring between 8m to 14m in diameter. A further stone hut circle lies outside the rampart to the north. Between the ramparts a small natural platform used for commemorative bonfires has been exposed revealing flooring of small stones with a quantity of 13th-14th century pottery sherds. The whole area of the hillfort has been subject to surface quarrying for granite and tin prospecting.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-432358


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

Legacy System number:
CO 392
Legacy System:


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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