Hillfort on Warden Hill, 1km north-west of High Warden


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011421

Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1994


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort on Warden Hill, 1km north-west of High Warden
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 - 1011421 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:49:38.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Warden

National Grid Reference: NY 90423 67863

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.

Despite some damage from surface quarrying, the hillfort on Warden Hill survives reasonably well. Its strategic position commanding the confluence of the North and South Tyne suggests that it was a stronghold of some importance and, together with the other prehistoric sites in the region, it will increase our knowledge of later prehistoric settlement and activity along the river valley.


The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the summit of Warden Hill. The site has extensive views in all directions and is located near the junction of the rivers North and South Tyne. The enclosure is roughly circular in shape and measures 85m east to west by 63m north to south within three ramparts and a ditch. The ramparts have become spread and give the impression of being terraced into the hillside; the two outer ramparts, which are 0.4m and 1.5m high, are only 1.5m apart and were originally separated by a ditch which has become obscured by the spreading ramparts. The more substantial inner rampart measures 6m across and has a maximum height of 2m. Where the matrix of the rampart is clear of turf, it is composed of large facing stones infilled with smaller stones and earth. An original, slightly inturned, entrance can clearly be seen in the western side of the fort. There are no visible traces of circular houses within the hillfort but some will survive beneath ground level; others have been damaged and obscured by surface quarrying. Examination of aerial photographs has revealed the possible existence of a small Romano-British settlement overlying the north-western corner of the hillfort. This lies in an area of surface quarrying and its outline is difficult to determine with certainty. The stone field wall which crosses the southern edge of the protected area and the re-erected trig point which lies on the southern perimeter of the protected area are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them 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: 20926

Legacy System: RSM


AP A/130038/1, McCord, N, Aerial Photography: Experiences of an Historian, Between And Beyond The Walls,

End of official listing