Large multivallate hillfort at War Coppice Camp


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Large multivallate hillfort at War Coppice Camp
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Tandridge (District Authority)
Tandridge (District Authority)
Caterham Valley
National Grid Reference:
TQ 33016 53281

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Despite disturbance from quarrying, the large multivallate hillfort at War Coppice Camp survives comparatively well. It is the only known Iron Age hillfort in Surrey to be situated on the North Downs and partial excavation has demonstrated that it contains both archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the hillfort, its inhabitants, their economy and the landscape in which they lived.


The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the crest of a chalk spur above the south face of the North Downs. Roughly oval, the enclosure is defined by single and double ramparts and includes an internal defended area of approximately 8ha. To the south west the defences survive as a double bank and ditch with additional scarping on the lower slope. The inner bank is c.5m wide and 0.4m high with a ditch 7m wide and 0.3m deep situated 2m below its crest. To the west of the ditch is the second bank, 8m wide and 0.5m high. Beyond this the second ditch has become completely infilled over the years but survives as a buried feature c.8m wide, visible as a terrace. Traces of a second, slighter terrace are situated further down the slope, representing evidence of additional scarping. The defences to the north east include an inner bank 5m wide and up to 0.5m high from the interior and 4m high from the exterior with a surrounding ditch 8m wide and 0.6m deep. Beyond this is a counterscarp bank 6m wide and up to 1m high. A 35m long section of a second ditch, which has become partially infilled over the years, survives 25m further out to the north east. In the southern and south eastern areas of the monument, sections of the hillfort have been disturbed by later quarrying activity. Although the monument was originally thought to be either Roman or Neolithic in date, excavations in 1950 showed it to be Iron Age and what had previously been thought to be a fragment of an earthwork was almost complete with the banks of the ramparts having been palisaded and revetted to strengthen their defence. Excluded from the scheduling are the houses, garages, greenhouses, out- buildings, oil-tanks, swimming pool, ponds, garden sheds, wells, tarmac driveway surfaces, gravel path surfaces, fences, gates and fence-posts but the ground beneath all these features 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.

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Books and journals
Hope-Taylor, , 'Surrey Archaeological Collections' in War Coppice Camp, , Vol. 52, (1950)


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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