Promontory fort east of Peckforton Mere


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


Ordnance survey map of Promontory fort east of Peckforton Mere
© 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.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1013481 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 18-Sep-2019 at 14:32:53.


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

Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SJ 54301 57689

Reasons for Designation

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally important.

This fort survives reasonably well in spite of the ploughing which has reduced some of its defences. It is small compared to a very similar site at Oakmere in Cheshire. The enclosed area is enough to support a collection of buildings for a single family settlement rather than a larger farming village. The ditch and the interior will contain important remains and will provide information on the domestic economy and farming practices of its inhabitants.


The monument includes a promontory fort on the east side of Peckforton Mere. The mere used to be much larger during the prehistoric period and this promontory would have jutted out into it. The River Gowy originally flowed out of the mere on the north side and this formed the northern defence of the fort. The present stream course lies further north than the original river and has been diverted by recent drainage operations. The fort has a bank and external ditch cutting off a piece of high ground which used to be a promontory and curving around it on the north and south sides, leaving the west side open to be defended in antiquity by the mere and the old course of the Gowy. The original bank and ditch are only partially visible as upstanding earthworks. They have been much reduced by ploughing and in places the line of the infilled ditch is only visible on aerial photographs. Where it does survive as an earthwork the bank is 16m wide and only 0.3m high. The ditch is 13m wide and 0.5m deep at its centre. Around 180m of the bank and ditch survives as upstanding earthworks; the remaining 280m length of defences is only visible on aerial photographs. The area thus enclosed is about 0.35ha in extent.

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
Longley, D, The Victoria History of the County, (1976), 109
RAF, CPE/UK/1935, (1947)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].