Ashbury Camp later prehistoric multivallate hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010423

Date first listed: 16-Oct-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Feb-1992


Ordnance survey map of Ashbury Camp later prehistoric multivallate hillfort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Week St. Mary

National Grid Reference: SX 22795 97469, SX 22976 97274, SX 23003 97233, SX 23006 97314, SX 23030 97281


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

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defended enclosures situated on hilltops and defined by two or more lines of closely-set earthworks, usually enclosing an area of under 5ha. They form one of a range of known types of fortified enclosure dating to the Iron Age, constructed during the period 6th century B.C. to the 1st century A.D., and sometimes re-occupied during the Roman period. They present a considerable variety of enclosure shapes and rampart forms, usually with one or two entrances. Where excavated, structures within the enclosure have included round or rectangular houses and associated buildings, often post or stake-built but sometimes of stone; metalled or cobbled roads; hearths; ovens; storage pits; gullies; scatters of post and stake holes, and, by the entrances, post-hole evidence for gate and guard houses. Settlement evidence sometimes extends outside the area enclosed by the earthworks. Outworks are occasionally found, usually associated with the approach to the entrance. These monuments are regarded as high status settlements, permanently occupied, engaged in trade and with evidence for industrial activities such as metal-working, potting, spinning and weaving, and agricultural processes including corn-grinding. About 100 small multivallate hillforts are recorded nationally, commonest in the west and south midlands, central southern and south-west England. They are important as nationally rare monuments which contribute significantly to our knowledge of settlement organisation, and economic and social activities during the Iron Age. Consequently all such monuments which preserve good evidence typical of the main known types, and their regional and topographical spread, would normally be considered of national importance. Ashbury Camp is a particularly well-preserved hillfort, reflecting the unusually long application of a sympathetic traditional land-management regime. It shows a number of features common to many south-western hillforts, notably its small size, indeed it is at the upper end of the recorded size-range for Cornish hillforts, its hill top location overlooking a river system just beyond a plateau area, and its outworks crossing the main line of approach. Its prominence and preservation have attracted antiquarian comment since the early 19th century.


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


The monument includes a small, later Prehistoric hillfort, with an oblong embanked and ditched enclosure, entrances facing NW and SE, and two outworks to the SE crossing the line of approach. The hillfort interior, which is featureless, comprises an area 182m WNW-ESE by 125m NNE-SSW (2.27ha) enclosed by an earth and rubble rampart 8m wide, rising to a maximum 3m high above the outer ground level, though soil-creep has masked much of the rampart's inner face. The outer ditch survives to a maximum 10m wide and 1m deep, best preserved around the NW and SE ends. Along the N and NW sides of the enclosure is an outer rampart, surviving to a maximum 5m wide and 1.5m high. Entrance breaks occur in the enclosure rampart and ditch circuit at the NW end, c.5m wide, and SE end, c.10m wide. The enclosure occupies the summit of a low hill whose approach along a spur to the SE is crossed transversely by two outworks. The nearest to the hillfort is centred 175m from the SE entrance along the spur slope, and comprises a single rampart c.8m wide, rising to a maximum 1.5m high, running NE-SW in a slight curve across the spur. The other outwork also includes a rampart on the same axis, but centred 205m from the hillfort's SE entrance; this rampart is c.8m wide and rises to a maximum of 3m high. A broad outer ditch is visible, c.8m wide and 1.5m deep, extended at the SW end by a recent drainage cut. Both outworks are cut by the modern farm-track running NW from Ashbury Farm. The low hill crowned by the hillfort is bounded on all sides except the SE by steep slopes dropping to upper tributaries of the River Neet flowing towards Bude Bay 5km to the NW. It lies on Carboniferous Culm Measures, just beyond the NW edge of a low plateau between the Rivers Ottery and Tamar, at the junction with the more deeply dissected coastal belt. Although the monument has not been excavated, its good preservation and prominent position have resulted in its mention and description in antiquarian records since the early 19th century. All modern hedges, fences, walls and gates are excluded from the scheduling,but the land beneath them, including hedge-banks, is included. This monument is divided into five separate constraint areas.

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: 15010

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Henderson, C, Parochial Antiquities of East Cornwall, (1930)
Cornwall SMR record, with AM 107, for PRN 2051, Ashbury Camp,
MS at Royal Institution of Cornwall, Henderson, C., East Cornwall Book, (Pagination 509), (1925)
Ordnance Survey, Ordnance Survey Index Record for SX 29 NW 6, (1974)

End of official listing