Wapley Hill large multivallate hillfort and pillow mounds 150m north of Warren House.


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Wapley Hill large multivallate hillfort and pillow mounds 150m north of Warren House.
© 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.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
Staunton on Arrow
National Grid Reference:
SO 34571 62465

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Wapley camp large multivallate hillfort survives well and is a good example of its class. The southern entrance is an exceptionally fine example of a complex inturned entrance which has survived with no apparent disturbance. The northern entrance is a similarly undisturbed example of an entrance at the change of slope. The substantial defences will contain valuable archaeological evidence concerning their method and sequence of construction and evidence relating to the occupation of the site. The interior, despite having been ploughed in the past and subsequently afforested, will contain evidence of occupation. Environmental material relating to the landscape in which the monument was constructed and the economy of its inhabitants will be preserved in the ditch fills and on the old land surfaces sealed beneath the ramparts. Pillow mounds are one of the characteristic structures associated with medieval and post medieval rabbit warrens. They are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones designed to provide breeding places and shelter for rabbits. They are usually between 15m and 40m in length and between 5m and 10m in width with rounded or squared ends. They are usually flat-topped and of a uniform height no higher than 0.7m. Most are ditched around at least three sides to facilitate drainage. Within the mounds there will be passages and chambers constructed to house the rabbit stock. In all cases the number of exits were restricted to facilitate close control of the rabbit population. The three pillow mounds within the hillfort at Wapley camp will contain archaeological evidence for their method of construction and age. They represent valuable evidence for the medieval agricultural reuse of the hilltop and will also preserve areas of the hillfort interior sealed beneath them which have not been disturbed by afforestation.


The monument includes Wapley camp, a large multivallate hillfort and three pillow mounds occupying the west end of the summit of Wapley Hill. The hillfort is roughly triangular in plan with rounded angles and has maximum dimensions of 530m east to west by 270m north to south giving an enclosed area of approximately 5.5ha. The natural topography of Wapley Hill includes a precipitous scarp slope in the north, falling towards Hindwell Brook, with more gentle slopes to the east and south. The hillfort defences are constructed with regard to this topography, being at their most elaborate on the north east and south sides. The north east side is protected by a complex system of five ramparts of varying height between 6m and 2m, the strongest being the innermost which stands to a height of 6m on its outside and 2.1m on its inner. The three inner ramparts have two medial ditches; between the third and fourth is a berm 20m wide, between the fourth and fifth is a ditch and berm, and beyond the fifth is an outer ditch. Around the south side there are only four ramparts of similar proportions to those in the east and with medial ditches. To the east of the entrance midway along this side there is a natural berm between the second ditch and outer rampart. Around the west end of the hillfort the defences are reduced to three ramparts with two medial ditches and an outer ditch which gradually fade out towards the north west where the natural slopes of the hill steepen. Around the north west side, the hillfort relies predominantly on the natural strength of the hillslope for defence. However, there is evidence of a slight outer ditch cut into the natural scarp, the spoil from which has been thrown outwards to form a slight counterscarp bank. This ditch has become largely infilled through the erosion of the scarp above. There are four entrances through the defences, one at each corner of the site and one in the south side. The main entrance lies midway along the south side. Here the defences are interrupted by a fine example of a complex inturned entrance. The outer rampart has been turned in on either side of the entrance gap to form a long sunken approach to the inner rampart 40m long and 3m wide. The inner rampart has, in turn, been curved inwards on each side of the opening to ensure that any approach to the interior of the site could be overlooked and controlled from above. The entrance at the northern apex of the site, where the artificial defences of the east side approach the natural steep slopes on the north, also appears original. Here the outer ditches and ramparts stop short of the scarp edge to form a causeway and the inner rampart curves slightly inwards on the south side of the opening in characteristic fashion. The entrances at the east and west corners of the site are simple cuts through the defences and appear to be later adaptations. Within the camp are three pillow-mounds. They lie orientated roughly east to west, one in the south east corner of the enclosure, one in the south west corner and one immediately inside and east of the south entrance. The west and south mounds average 24m long by 8m wide and stand to a height of 0.7m. The easterly mound is 38m long, 8m wide and 0.8m high. Each shows faint traces of a surrounding ditch. They are associated with the rabbit warren on the hilltop; the names `Warren House' and `The Warren', which appear on maps of the area, indicate that the area has been used in the past for rabbit farming. All fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 5 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:


NAR record SO36SW14,


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

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