Bladon camp: a hillfort on Bladon Heath


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

West Oxfordshire (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SP 45677 13808

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 remains are believed to be of national importance.

Bladon camp survives well despite the part levelling of the ramparts. Small-scale archaeological observations have enhanced our understanding of the site and confirmed the survival of buried archaeological remains.


The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort known as Bladon camp, situated immediately south of Bladon Reservoir on Bladon Heath. The hillfort has defences which include two concentric oval ramparts with outer ditches which combine to enclose an area up to 200m across from north to south and 180m from east to west. Both ramparts are of stone rubble construction and have been partly levelled, varying in original width from 4m to 7m and standing up to 0.7m high. The ditches have become partly infilled over the years and some sections were re-cut earlier this century. The undisturbed sections are, however, visible at ground level as slight depressions 0.3m deep and up to 7m wide. They served the dual function of enhancing the defences and also provided material for the construction of the ramparts. The original entrances are not clearly defined but were probably located to the north western and south eastern sides of the monument. A series of spoil tips related to later quarrying in the area has confused the plan of the original earthworks, particularly to the west. The site was partially investigated in 1988 when fragments of Early Iron Age pottery were recovered from the silt in the bottom of the ditch, providing evidence of its date. Excluded from the scheduling are the boundary fence of the reservoir and the post and wire fence running through the woodland to the east, although the ground beneath both of these features is included in the scheduling.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Allen, T, 'Newsletter' in Bladon Reservoir Archaeological Investigations, , Vol. NL 18, (1988)
Potts, W, 'A History Of Oxfordshire' in Fortresses on Hill-Tops Following the Line of the Hill, , Vol. 2, (1907), 310
PRN 1376, C.A.O., Circular enclosure, (1988)
SP 41 SE 19, Ordnance Survey (now R.C.H.M.(E), Round Castle, (1971)
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Source Date: 1981 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: Sheet SP 41 SE


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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