Iron Age enclosure and associated earthworks in the north east corner of Blagden Copse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009842

Date first listed: 22-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age enclosure and associated earthworks in the north east corner of Blagden Copse
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1009842 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Jan-2019 at 15:35:58.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Hampshire

District: Test Valley (District Authority)

Parish: Hurstbourne Tarrant

National Grid Reference: SU 36438 52653


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

Reasons for Designation

Blagden Copse is part of the remnant woodland of Chute Forest which once stretched from Collingbourne Wood, inside the Wiltshire border, to Harewood Forest in Hampshire. Whilst much of Blagden Copse has been planted by the Forestry Commission, the area in which the enclosure stands has retained its natural condition. Evidence from both documents and random finds suggest that this portion of woodland has been under trees for some 1500 years and has not been cultivated since the Romano-British period. The enclosure and associated earthworks in Blagden Copse therefore survive well and their understanding has been enhanced by partial excavation which has dated it to between the first century BC and the first century AD, bridging the period of the Roman invasion. Excavation and geophysical survey conducted on and around the site also indicate the absence of settlement evidence and, together with the nature of deposits in the ditch and excavated pit, suggest a ritual site of a type recognised in Europe and known as 'viereckschanzen'. These date to the Late Iron Age and only very few examples are known in this country, the only other candidates being Robin Hood's Arbour, Berkshire, and Gosbeck's Farm (Camulodunum), Essex. The site is therefore an example of a particularly rare class of monument which, in conjunction with other sites in the area, including the banjo enclosure situated 250m to the south, contribute to a fuller understanding of social organisation in the Late Iron Age and early Roman period of Wessex.


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


The monument includes a sub-square Iron Age enclosure and associated earthworks in the north east sector of Blagden Copse. The enclosure is one of a number to the north of Devil's Ditch, including a `banjo' enclosure some 250m to the south west, and is in an area where a number of important Late Iron Age objects have been found. The enclosure covering c.1ha, is defined by a ditch with an internal bank and an external counterscarp on its south side. The internal bank stands to a height of 1m and is c.5m across. The ditch is up to 3m wide and is now visible to a depth of 0.7m but is known to have been originally excavated to a sharp `V'- shaped profile. There are two breaks in the bank: a broad one on the east side and a smaller one on the west. A shallow ditch runs from this western gap towards the centre of the enclosure. Geophysical survey and limited excavation have yielded traces of activity but no sign of intensive settlement within the enclosure. Excavation in 1987 and 1988 dated the enclosure ditch to within the first centuries BC and AD and revealed levelled platforms of weathered flint in the south east and north east corners of the enclosed area. A pit was discovered below the platform in the north east corner. This was 4m deep and contained at its base Iron Age pottery, animal remains, the burial of an infant, a horse skull, and the bones of a juvenile pig. The nature of these finds indicate a ritual deposit. The monument also includes a ditch which runs north from the north east corner of the enclosure, a length of ditch parallel to and some 36m north of the north side of the enclosure, the area between these ditches and the enclosure, and a 10m margin to include immediately associated features, such as a pit identified 5m beyond the northernmost ditch. Other earthworks survive in this area of the wood. The post and wire fence on the southern edge of the monument is excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath it 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: 21901

Legacy System: RSM


Bowden, M. Mackay, D and Topping, P (ed), From Cornwall to Caithness some aspects of Brit. Field. Arch, 1989, Papers presented to N.V.Quinnel
Dacre, M., Blagden Copse Rectangle (BCR87) Interim Report, 1987,
Report on Geophysical Survey, Payne, A, Blagden Copse, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Hampshire, (1990)

End of official listing