Ratlinghope Hill camp: a slight univallate hillfort, 600m north east of Brow Farm


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.

Shropshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SO 40635 97313

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. 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.

Ratlinghope slight univallate hillfort survives well and is a good example of this class of earthwork. The interior is undisturbed and will contain archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the site. The perimeter defences will preserve environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which it was constructed and the economy of the prehistoric community who built it. It is one of a group of several associated monuments of similar age which occupy this area of upland. Considered as such it contributes important information for changes in the land use and settlement pattern during the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age in this area of upland.


The monument includes the remains of a univallate enclosure, incorporating a cross dyke, situated towards the south end of a steep sided spur below the main plateau of Stitt Hill. The enclosure is roughly pear shaped in plan with maximum dimensions of 130m north west to south east by 110m transversely and has an internal area of just under 1ha. The defences are designed to make maximum use of the topography. They are strongest around the north, where a well defined rampart and ditch cuts roughly east to west across the neck of the spur, separating the southern tip from the rising ground to the north. The rampart comprises a substantial bank 9m wide and up to 1.4m high internally, 2m externally. Orientated roughly east to west, it turns to follow the shoulders of the natural slopes to the east and the west, tapering out after 30m and 40m respectively. On its northern, uphill, side it is flanked by a broad based ditch 5m wide and 1.2m deep, which also tapers out on the steep natural slopes to the east and west. This rampart may be the earliest part of the earthworks and it may have originally functioned as a cross-dyke. This would then have been incorporated into a more comprehensive system of earthworks to create an enclosure at a later date. These boundary works, forming the remainder of the enclosure, are less well defined but remain visible. The west and south sides are formed by an artificial cutting back of the natural hillslope to steepen it and create a strong scarp 2.1m high. A change of slope at the base of this scarp could mark the position of a ditch, though this has become infilled over the years so that it survives only as a buried feature. Some 40m from the south west corner, along the south western side of the enclosure and facing the main valley to the south west, is an original entrance. It has the form of a pronounced break in the scarp, flanked on either side by pronounced terminals. The eastern corner of the site is visible only as a change of slope. There is no visible evidence of any habitation in the interior of the enclosure, which slopes gently from north to south.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 4 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:


Record no 00186,


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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