Later prehistoric defended enclosure, Long Wood


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.

Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 98125 40385

Reasons for Designation

During the Iron Age a variety of different types of settlement were constructed and occupied in south-western England. At the top of the settlement hierarchy were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a group of smaller sites, known as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others in less prominent positions. They are generally smaller than the hillforts, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction. Univallate sites have a single bank and ditch, multivallate sites more than one. At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Where excavated, evidence of stone- or timber-built houses has been found within the enclosures, which, in contrast to the hillfort sites, would have been occupied by small communities, perhaps no more than a single family group. Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the settlement pattern, particularly in the upland areas of south-western England, and are integral to any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are likely to be identified as nationally important.

The Long Wood enclosure survives as a good example of its class, with a complete bank/ditch/counterscarp arrangement and causeway/gap entrance, and an internal platform indicating a round building. Its compact size allows a clear comprehension of the features and its accessibilty to the public makes it an excellent amenity site. It is part of a group of diverse and broadly contemporary monuments in the area of Bat's Castle hillfort which give an indication of the nature and intensity of settlement in this area during the later prehistoric period.


The monument includes a small univallate defended round enclosure on the sloping plateau above Long Combe. On the hilltop across the end of the valley Bat's Castle hillfort, which is broadly contemporary, is clearly visible c.2km away, with the Bristol Channel beyond. The enclosure is sub-circular in shape, with a straight side facing uphill on the south. It has an internal area of 0.15ha. enclosed by a bank, 0.2m high on the downhill stretch to 1.5m on the upper stretch, with an external ditch 0.25m to 1m deep. Outside the ditch on all but the uphill stretch there is a shallow counterscarp bank 0.25m high outside the ditch. The entrance to the enclosure is from uphill on the south, and is a simple causeway and gap, c.4m wide. An opposite gap on the downhill side, 2m wide, may also be original. Inside the enclosure, set against the western bank, is a sub-circular levelled platform, c.17m across, with an entrance to the centre of the enclosure. This is the site of a large round building or an inner enclosure. The eastern edge of the site is clipped by a modern track, which clearly rises where it crosses the counterscarp bank and dips where it runs through the ditch. The counterscarp bank is visible continuing outside the track. Excluded from the scheduling is the interpretation board, although the ground beneath is included.

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:


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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