Beacon Hill hillfort, enclosure and linear boundary


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008835

Date first listed: 20-Aug-1935

Date of most recent amendment: 19-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Beacon Hill hillfort, enclosure and linear boundary
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

County: Leicestershire

District: Charnwood (District Authority)

Parish: Woodhouse

National Grid Reference: SK 50988 14487, SK 51205 14694


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

The site at Beacon Hill is the only surviving example of this class of monument in the county. Finds from the site, including a founder's hoard, indicate its use as a centre for production, refuge or trade.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument at Beacon Hill is situated on the Charnwood uplands north west of Leicester and includes a slight univallate hillfort, a linear boundary, and an enclosure which is contained in a second area. The site occupies a large area extending for more than 500m north of Beacon road. The defended area is enclosed for about three quarters of the circuit of the hill by a ditch up to 1.5m deep and 8m wide and an outer bank surviving up to 1.5m high on the southern side of the monument. An outer ditch, which is up to 1.5m deep, encloses an additional area up to 70m wide on the south side. The faint remains of outworks lie on the south west side of the hillfort and are contained by a ditch, measuring less than 0.5m deep, and stretches of a bank which is up to 1.5m high and 8m wide. Running north east from the main defences for a distance of 300m is a ditch up to 0.75m deep which divides at the north end and has a low bank on the south side. It is identified as part of a contemporary linear boundary dividing up the landscape for pastoral purposes. Part of an enclosure measuring at least 90m x 30m is situated within the second area 70m from the hillfort outworks on the south west side. It is defined by a ditch 5m wide and 1.5m deep with a slight inner bank. There is now no indication of a continuation of the enclosure in the adjacent field to the west.

No excavations have ever taken place on Beacon Hill but some chance finds have been made, the most significant of which is a Late Bronze Age founder's hoard, found in a pit in 1858, which included two spearheads and a socketed axe. A bronze axe mould has also been found on the hill, together with a bronze bracelet found nearby, also of Late Bronze Age date. These finds may suggest that the site was a production centre for bronze implements, or alternatively that it was used as a place of refuge or a centre for trade. The name `Beacon Hill' recalls the use of the hill as a signalling post, although no trace now remains of the beacon.

Excluded from the scheduling are the surfaces of Beacon Road, all made up trackways and that part of the car park which lies within the area of the scheduling. The ground beneath these features is included in the scheduling.

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: 17111

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Liddle, P, A Guide to 20 Archaeological Sites in Leicestershire, (1983), 42-3

End of official listing