Slight univallate hillfort and associated earthworks on Burrington Ham


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Slight univallate hillfort and associated earthworks on Burrington Ham
© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. 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.

North Somerset (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 47803 58789

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 between 150 and 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 include square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six postholes and interpreted as raised granaries, timber or stone round houses, large storage pits and hearths as well as scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies. 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.

The slight univallate hillfort on Burrington Ham survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This is one of a number of hillforts to survive in this area.


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on Burrington Ham, a carboniferous limestone plateau overlooking Burrington Combe to the south and west, Blagdon Combe to the east and an area of levels to the north. The hillfort, known as Burrington Camp, has a level sub-oval interior with maximum dimensions of 75m from east-west and 110m from north-south. Surrounding the enclosed area is a single rampart, 8m wide and c.0.5m high, with a ditch on either side. The ditches are c.0.5m deep and 3m wide. The rampart is best defined in the southern and eastern areas where the ground beyond the hillfort is level. There are two possible entrances to the interior. In the north-west there is an entrance comprising two gaps in the rampart c.10m wide separated by a ditch c.12m long. A second entrance, 12m wide, occurs on the north-east side of the enclosure. It is likely that both entrances are original features of the monument. To the north-west there is a segment of ditch which appears to be divorced from the main enclosure. This is thought to represent a component of the entrance arrangements, and may relate to the need to channel stock into the enclosure. On the south-west and north-east sides there are also two extensions to the external ditch, leading away from the enclosure. In the south-west the linear feature runs for a further 50m and is accompanied by a slight bank, while in the north-east an extension to the external ditch runs away from the enclosure for a distance of c.25m. The purpose of these features is unclear, but they may relate to the control of stock, as together these features enclose the area of land situated between the main enclosure and the cliffs of the gorge to the west.

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:
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Results of excavations in 1960, NAR details,


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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