Slight univallate hillfort called Oldbury Castle.
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. Slight univallate hillforts are rare and important for understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities. Despite reduction in the heights of the ramparts through cultivation the slight univallate hillfort called Oldbury Castle survives comparatively 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.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 August 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 slight univallate hillfort situated on the summit of a prominent ridge overlooking a significant meander in the River Barle. The hillfort survives as an elongated oval enclosure defined by a single rampart and largely buried outer ditch which survive differentially. The rampart is best preserved to the north east where it stands up to 2m high above the ditch. Elsewhere it is preserved as a scarp above a buried ditch.