Hillfort at Buckland Rings


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort at Buckland Rings
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

New Forest (District Authority)
Lymington and Pennington
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SZ 31487 96850

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The small multivallate hillfort at Buckland Rings displays excellent preservation of the defences. Small-scale excavation has indicated that, despite some plough damage, the site contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the monument and to human activity pre-dating its construction.


The monument includes a multivallate Iron Age hillfort on the edge of higher ground south of Passford Water and west of the Lymington River. The northern, eastern and southern ramparts of the hillfort follow the contours of the higher ground and include, except near the north west corner of the site, three banks and two intermediate ditches with a maximum overall width of c.40m. The western side of the hillfort, on more level ground, has two banks and a single ditch. Sway Road runs along the foot of, and has truncated, the outer bank and there is no evidence of a bank or ditch to the west of the road. The hillfort has a maximum internal width of c.225m from west to east and of c.160m from north to south. An area of almost 3ha is enclosed. Of the defences, the inner bank is the largest, rising steeply to a maximum of 6m above the base of the 10m wide ditch and up to 2.5m above the interior of the hillfort. The middle bank rises 2m to 3m above the base of the inner ditch and is up to 10m wide at the north and east, with a broad, uneven top; elsewhere it is of similar height but less broad. The outer bank is also 2m- 3m high for much of its length but it is generally narrower and, along the southern side of the hillfort, intermittent. The entrance, at the eastern side of the hillfort, is marked by the terminals of the northern ramparts, but the southern banks have been much reduced by ploughing in the past, slight undulations only remaining to mark their position. Small-scale excavation has indicated that the entrance was inturned and that it had two large internal post holes, probably for a gate. Sealed by a buried ground surface beneath the ramparts were a hearth, several worked flints and part of a stone mace head of Neolithic date. There are no upstanding earthworks in the interior, which has been ploughed in the past but is now pasture. Excluded from the scheduling are the house called Buckland Rings, Buckland Rings Cottage and all associated buildings, drives, paving and flagpole, all fencing and associated posts, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Hawkes, C F C, 'Proc Hants Field Club' in The Excavation of Buckland Rings, Lymington, , Vol. 13, (1937), 124-164


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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