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.
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.