Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Eden (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NY 46894 12753

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 between 150 and 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 include square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries, timber or stone round houses, large storage pits and hearths as well as scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies. 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. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort survives well. Limited archaeological excavation revealed the existence of living floors within the main enclosure and use of the outer enclosure. It will retain further evidence for the settlement at this site and for the construction methods employed in the monument's defences.


The monument is Castle Crag slight univallate hillfort. It is located on the top of Castle Crag, a projection of rock extending north-east from Birks Crag. The ground falls precipitously from the north-west, north-east and south-east sides of the crag. The hillfort includes an oval-shaped internal enclosure measuring approximately 46m by 22m that is protected on its south-west side by a rampart of stones up to 2m wide and 1m high. The precipitous slopes on the other sides preclude the need for ramparts there. There is an entrance at the south-west corner of the enclosure leading up a narrow ledge of rock. Within the enclosure are three artificially levelled areas - two circular areas measuring c.3m diameter, and an irregularly-shaped area measuring a maximum of 6.5m by 4.6m. Outside the stone rampart is a rock-cut ditch 4m wide and up to 3m deep and beyond this a second rock-cut ditch 10m wide and 2-3m deep. Between the ditches a rocky knoll has been used as an outer enclosure and contains further artificially levelled areas. Towards the south-eastern end of the outer enclosure is a cutting in the rock forming an entrance 2.5m wide. Outside the outer ditch is a rectangular artificially levelled area measuring c.19m by 15m which enhances a terrace in the adjacent hillside. Limited archaeological excavation during the early 1920's located a parapet rampart on the north side of the internal enclosure constructed of tightly laid flat stones. Clay floors and charcoal were also found within this main enclosure. Circular pits were found within the outer enclosure located to the south-west. A drystone wall and old fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
'Trans Cumb & West Antiq & Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Proceedings, , Vol. XXIII, (1923), 285-6
Raymond,F., MPP Single Mon Class Description - Slight Univallate Hillforts, (1988)
RCHME, Westmorland, (1936)


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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