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.
Trendle Ring survives well and is unusual in having a cross-ridge outwork
further up the hill on its blind approach.
The monument, which comprises two areas, includes a slight univallate hillfort
on a steeply sloping hillspur of the western Quantock flank, and an outwork
on the neck of the spur above.
The fort is sub-circular in shape and its ramparts enclose c.0.7 ha. The
defences follow the natural contours of the slope except on the south east
side where they drop lower and include an entranceway. The defences consist,
on the uphill side, of a rampart up to c.1.5m high and external ditch c.0.5m
deep, and a slight counterscarp bank, outside the ditch in places, up to 0.5m
high. As the ground steepens on the downhill side the defences become a steep
scarp up to c.3.5m high and outer terrace c.3m wide. Quarry ditches inside
the scarp suggest that it would have been heightened artificially.
The two entrances to the fort are on its north east and south east sides. On
the north east is a simple causeway and gap leading uphill. On the south east
the entrance is askew, with a terraced track running up from the combe below
at an angle over the ditch, between a staggered gap in the rampart and into
the interior of the fort, this plan being due to the contours of the hill
Some 450m to the north east on the hilltop above the fort is a cross-ridge
outwork consisting of a curving bank and outer ditch. This does not cross the
entire ridge, leaving open just the approach to the fort. The fort is hidden
below the slope from this approach, and the outwork may have had a twofold
function: to act as a lookout and to provide an advance display of the fort.
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.