Multivallate hillfort, 400m west of Harehaugh


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011397

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Aug-1993


Ordnance survey map of Multivallate hillfort, 400m west of Harehaugh
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Harbottle


National Grid Reference: NY 96947 99798


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

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

The hillfort near Harehaugh is well preserved and a good example of its type. Its situation at a strategic point in Coquetdale suggests it was a hillfort of some importance. Additionally it is one of a group of hillforts in this part of Coquetdale and will add greatly to our understanding of prehistoric settlement in the region.


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


The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the highest part of a promontory overlooking the valleys of the Harehaugh and Grasslees Burns. The encircling ramparts enclose an oval area measuring 160m east-west by 100m north-south. The fort, of more than one phase, is divided internally by a scarp with a central entrance into a western enclosure and an eastern extension. The superbly preserved western end of the fort is surrounded by four substantial earth and stone ramparts separated from each other by three ditches. The ramparts are a maximum of 4m above the ditches which are 1.2m wide. Slight traces of a single rampart are visible along the northern edge of the fort. The south and east sides are protected by two ramparts and a ditch. The outer rampart is 5m wide and stands 1.3m high above a medial ditch 2.5m wide. The inner rampart, now a substantial steep scarp, stands 3m high above the medial ditch. Outside these defences are traces of an outer ditch and a slight counter-scarp bank. There are two entrances, one on the north side and one on the south side.

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: 20953

Legacy System: RSM


NY 99 NE 06,
RAF 541.442 4202-3,

End of official listing