Slight univallate hillfort at Wain's Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 39085 70655

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.

The slight univallate hillfort at Wain's Hill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument has an unusual setting and is one of two local hillforts which are situated on coastal promontories.


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on a coastal promontory overlooking Salthouse Bay to the north, Woodspring Bay to the south west, the estuary of the River Blind Yeo to the south and an area of Levels to the east. The site occupies the crest of a carboniferous limestone outcrop known as Wain's Hill. The hillfort has an irregular interior with maximum dimensions of 220m from north-south and 175m from east-west and is defined by steep natural slopes to the south, north and west, and by a single rampart to the east. The modern path enters the monument in the south eastern area and this is likely to correspond with the original entrance to the hillfort. The rampart defining the eastern side of the hillfort consists of a single rubble-built bank 8m-10m wide and 1.5m-2m high occupying the summit of the eastern slope of the carboniferous outcrop across which the only landward approach to the hillfort could be made. This is flanked by an external terrace 10m-12m wide situated further downslope; this was created by quarrying undertaken during the construction of the rampart. A quantity of Romano-British pottery has been recovered from within and around the hillfort while three linear earthworks situated within the southern area of the interior are interpreted as pillow mounds. These range from 15m-30m in length, 1m-6m wide and from 0.5m-0.85m high and are likely to date from the post-medieval period. There is also a Second World War pill-box situated in the south eastern area of the hillfort's interior. Excluded from the scheduling are all metalled paths, fence posts and a seat, although the underlying ground is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Description of the ramparts,
Details of the Romano-British finds,
Interpretation of pillow mounds,
Mention of wartime installations,


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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