Berry Ring hillfort


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Berry Ring hillfort
© 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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This copy shows the entry on 22-Oct-2019 at 11:55:21.


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

Stafford (District Authority)
Stafford (District Authority)
Hyde Lea
National Grid Reference:
SJ 88744 21164

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Berry Ring hillfort survives well and represents a good example of this class of monument. Buried features and artefactual evidence associated with the occupation of the hillfort will survive within the interior. The spread inner ramparts will have protected those sections of the interior they overlie, whilst the defensive ditch will retain environmental evidence relating to the economy of the site's inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


The monument occupies the northern end of a elevated spur of land on the northern outskirts of the village of Billington, and includes the earthwork and buried remains of a univallate Iron Age hillfort. The hillfort has an oval plan governed largely by the outline of the ridge upon which it is located. The defensive earthworks include an inner rampart and a steep-sided ditch, beyond which is intermittent evidence for a counterscarp bank. Slight traces of the inner rampart are visible, averaging 0.2m high, except for a 43m section in the south east corner of the site where it is 1.5m high. A low bank may be traced along the inner lip of the western ditch, particularly in the north western part of the site, and this is thought to represent the remains of the inner rampart here. The ditch measures up to 18m wide and is between 4m and 4.7m deep. The counterscarp bank is visible along the western, northern and southern sides of the hillfort. Its best preserved section, in the north western part of the site, is up to 14m wide and 1m high. The central sector of the western counterscarp bank has been partly levelled by Berry Ring Cottage and its garden. There is no surface evidence for a counterscarp bank along the eastern side of the hillfort and the steepness of the natural topography here is thought to have formed a sufficient defensive feature beyond the ditch. Access into the interior of the hillfort is by means of causeways across the central part of the eastern defences and in the north eastern corner of the site. Both of these breaches have been created by farm tracks and are considered to be modern. The original entrance to the interior is thought to lie at the neck of the spur, through the southern defences. Here, the inner rampart and the ditch have been partly modified by marl digging and sand and gravel extraction. In the south west corner of the hillfort a low bank running northwards into the interior of the site and a number of slight hollows are visible and are thought to represent the remains of further quarrying and extraction activities. The earthwork defences enclose a slightly undulating central area of approximately 3ha with a spring-fed pond in the north eastern corner. No internal earthworks associated with the hillfort's occupation are visible, but the buried remains of structures will survive beneath the ground surface. A number of finds have been recovered from the interior and include Iron Age pottery, flints, an iron ring and fragments of medieval pottery. The two electricity poles and their support cables, the beehives, water trough and all fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Lynam, C, The Victoria History of the County of Staffordshire, (1908), 336
Plot, R, The Natural History of Staffordshire, (1686), 416
RCHME, SJ82SE1, Survey Report, (1993)


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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