Castle Steads slight univallate hillfort and associated outwork
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Sep-2019 at 01:52:47.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- North Yorkshire
- Richmondshire (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- NZ 11001 06962, NZ 11125 07402
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.
Castle Steads is a well defined example of this rare monument type.
The monument includes Castle Steads hillfort and an associated outwork. It
lies in two separate areas. The univallate hillfort is situated on a spur
overlooking the steep valley of Dalton Beck to the west and north west. The
hillfort measures 230m from north to south by a maximum of 130m transversely.
It survives as a much mutilated stone walled fort with outer ditch and
counterscarp bank. The east, west and north sides are defended by steep
natural slopes. On the south side is a well defined rampart and ditch. The
walls survive in the main as a concentrated rubble spread averaging 2.2m in
width and 0.6m high but both inner and outer in-situ facing stones are still
visible in places. It has been severely eroded on the north and west sides by
land slips. Similarly the ditch and counterscarp bank are no longer visible on
the north and west sides and only visible intermittently on the east. Across
the neck of the spur the defences survive with a smooth regular profile, very
little evidence of surface stone and no exposed wall in its construction
leaving a basic but fragmentary earthen rampart. The ditch to the south is
somewhat silted and marshy and has been incorporated into a more recent
pattern of field drainage.
Apart from the eroded sections there are a total of five breaks in the
defences. The main entrance to the fort is to the south, formed by a gap in
the inner defence 4.5m wide with traces of a slight inturn on either side, a
causeway across the ditch and a further break in the outer bank about 7m wide.
A second original entrance on the north side of the fort consists of a gap 2m
wide and a causeway over the ditch 4m wide. This allows access to the flat
area at the northern extremity of the spur. Other breaks are less convincing
as original features. No structures which were deemed to be contemporary with
the fort can be recognised as upstanding earthworks in the interior although
remains will exist beneath the present ground surface.
About 400m to the south of the fort are the remains of a substantial
earthwork, comprising a bank and ditch which cross the ridge from east to
west. The bank has a width of 6.5m and a height of 1.5m. The ditch has a width
of 10m and a depth of 1m and retains a considerable depth of peaty deposits. A
100m section of the bank and ditch have been ploughed out during the 19th
century, however, the line of the ditch is still visible and the ditch
deposits will have survived. The earthwork includes a 6.5m wide causewayed
entrance near its eastern end. This is included in the scheduling.
Excluded from the scheduling are Ministry of Defence telegraph equipment, star posts and bunkers, although 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.
- Legacy System number:
- Legacy System:
Books and journals
Blood, K, Markham, P , Fort, Castle Steads, Gayles., (1990)
Blood, K, Markham, P , Fort, Castle Steads, Gayles., (1990)
Challis, A J, Harding, D W, 'Later Prehistory from Trent to Tyne' in Later Prehistory From The Trent To The Tyne, , Vol. 20, (1975), 46
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