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. 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, fences, 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. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh
Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. Large multivallate hillforts are important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period. Despite reduction in the heights of the rampart and disturbance of the interior through cultivation, the large multivallate hillfort known as 'Castle Canyke', 375m SSW of Castle Canyke Farmhouse survives comparatively well and is one of the largest in Cornwall. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, development, longevity, social organisation, territorial and economic significance, agricultural practices, trade, industrial activities, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.
The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort, situated on the summit of a prominent hill forming the watershed between tributaries to the Rivers Camel and Fowey. The hillfort survives as a large oval enclosure of approximately 8ha defined by two closely concentric ramparts with ditches. The outer ditch measures up to 1m deep, the rampart up to 3m high and both are best preserved in the south western quadrant. The inner rampart and ditch are preserved as largely buried features or scarp slopes of up to 0.4m high.
The hillfort lay in open moorland when first recorded in 1813, but had been enclosed and divided by field boundaries by 1849, and even then the inner rampart survived only as a low bank. A geophysical survey in the 1980's revealed interior features and traces of the inner rampart and ditch.
The outer defences underlie modern field boundaries which also cross the centre of the hillfort dividing it into quarters with a 19th century field barn and a later water tank at the centre. It is also cut by a road to the north-west. These features are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.
PastScape Monument No:-431339