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 115m east of Brockley Cottage survives well as
one of a small group of comparable sites which occur locally. The site will
contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and
the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated 115m east of
Brockley Cottage on the end of a carboniferous limestone spur overlooking the
gorge of Tap`s Combe to the south and an area of Levels to the west.
The monument, sometimes known as Tap`s Combe Camp, has a sub-oval interior
with dimensions of 132m from east to west and 85m from north to south. The
southern end is adjacent to a steep south-facing cliff and the interior gently
slopes from the south east which is c.10m higher than on the north west side.
Surrounding the enclosed area on the north, east and west is a single rampart
comprising a bank, ranging between 8m-10m wide and 0.5m-0.75m high, and an
outer ditch. The ditch, from which material was quarried during the
construction of the monument, has become largely infilled over the years but
survives as a buried feature visible at intervals around the site as a
depression c.0.2m-0.35m deep and up to 10m wide. The southern boundary of the
enclosure is provided by the steep cliff face overlooking Tap`s Combe. It is
unlikely that the ramparts ever extended into this area.
There are two entrances to the enclosure, in the north west and the
north east. The largest entrance occurs in the north west and is 8m wide and
associated with a hollow way 25m long, 3m wide and c.0.5m deep which
approaches from the north. This hollow way is likely to have been produced by
the extensive movement of stock probably during the medieval period. The break
in the rampart in the north east is likely to represent a second point of
entry but is unlikely to be an original feature of the monument.
Excluded from the scheduling are the swimming pool situated in Upper
Meadow, the garden sheds and all fence posts relating to boundaries, although
the ground beneath these features isincluded.
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.