Trendle Ring hillfort and associated outwork


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.

Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 11825 39359, ST 12246 39638

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 here. 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.

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:


Geonex UK Ltd, UAg 1072 152.24 Run 6 158 92 230, (1992)
Webster, C, (1993)


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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