Bodbury Ring: a large univallate hillfort on the summit of Bodbury Hill.


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009309

Date first listed: 17-Oct-1930

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Bodbury Ring: a large univallate hillfort on the summit of Bodbury Hill.
© 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.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Church Stretton

National Grid Reference: SO 44503 94795


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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. 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. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The large univallate hillfort called Bodbury Ring survives well and is a good example of its class. The interior is undisturbed and will contain archaeological evidence relating to the occupation of the hillfort. The perimeter defences will preserve archaeological material and environmental evidence relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants. A portion of a later field bank, which runs for a part of its length along the outer edge of the main rampart ditch, together with a representative sample of adjacent ridge and furrow, are included in the scheduling as evidence for the development and changing land use of the area.


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


The monument includes a large univallate hillfort, incorporating a cross dyke, a portion of field bank and representative sample of ridge and furrow. The hillfort occupies a strong defensive position on the southern tip of Bodbury Hill, a steep sided promontory on the north side of Carding Mill Valley. The hillfort is roughly pear shaped in plan, measuring some 120m north-east to south-west by 100m transversely, and has an enclosed area of just under 1ha. The defences are designed to make maximum use of the topography. They include a strong north-east facing rampart 6m to 10m wide and up to 1.7m high internally, rising 3.5m above the base of an outer ditch 8m wide and 1.3m deep. This rampart lies orientated roughly NNW to ESE across the neck of the spur to protect the natural approach from the north. The outer ditch fades out towards the eastern end of the rampart, before the steepening of the natural slope, to allow a simple entrance through the rampart at the break of slope. This rampart may be the earliest part of the earthworks and it may originally have functioned as a cross-dyke. The cross-dyke would then have been incorporated into a more comprehensive system of defences at a later date to create a hillfort. Around the remainder of the hillfort the natural slope of the hill has been cut back to artificially steepen the slope and create a strong scarp 7m wide and between 3m and 3.5m high with an outer berm 2m wide. Beyond the berm the hillslope continues to fall away precipitously. A low inner bank averaging 0.2m high can be traced running from the north-eastern rampart to fade approximately half way along the west side. The interior of the fort reflects the underlying geology so that, although it remains fairly level along the north-east, south-west axis of the hill, it falls quite steeply on either side to the ramparts. A later field boundary bank, averaging 1m wide and 0.3m high, approaches the hillfort from the east. It runs along the north-eastern portion of the outer edge of the cross-ridge ditch, then temporarily fades out before continuing to the north, following around the edge of the hill. To the north of this feature there are vestigial traces of ridge and furrow orientated roughly east to west and averaging 2m wide.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 19122

Legacy System: RSM


AP NMR SO4494-95, AP NMR SO4494-95,

End of official listing