Pyon Wood Camp, a small multivallate hillfort 700m WSW of Yatton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014541

Date first listed: 23-Aug-1935

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Pyon Wood Camp, a small multivallate hillfort 700m WSW of Yatton
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Aymestrey

National Grid Reference: SO 42361 66395


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 remains are believed to be of national importance.

Pyon Wood Camp is a well preserved example of this class of monument, and its extent and design are easily discernible despite the well established tree cover. The hillfort has a good example of an inturned entrance which has suffered little disturbance. The earthen banks will retain evidence for their method of construction, which may include post holes for palisades or revetments built in conjunction with the enhancement of the natural slopes. The interior of the hillfort will contain evidence for occupation and other activities, including post holes for buildings, hearths, and storage or rubbish pits, which will contribute to our understanding of the technology and economy of the Iron Age population. The ditch fills will retain environmental evidence relating to these activities, and to the landscape in which the hillfort was constructed, as will the buried land surface sealed beneath the earthen banks.

When viewed in association with other hillforts in the region, Pyon Wood Camp contributes to our knowledge of the demography and social organisation of the Iron Age in western Britain. Although the hillfort is obscured from view by trees, Pyon Wood itself is a highly visible landmark, and the monument is crossed by a number of footpaths.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small multivallate hillfort, situated on a natural knoll overlooking the River Lugg to the south and the Vale of Wigmore to the north. The hillfort is sub-rectangular in form, and its defences take advantage of the naturally steep sides of the knoll. The hillslope has been artificially steepened to form two scarp slopes with a medial ditch, both scarps being further enhanced by earthen banks following the contours of the hillside. The inner scarp encloses an area of roughly 1.5ha and runs approximately 20m below the summit of the hill. It rises on average 5m above the bottom of the ditch, and in some places up to 8m. The earthen bank along its crest survives for most of its circuit with maximum dimensions of c.1.5m x 2.5m wide. Material for the construction of this bank will have been quarried from the ditch, which has become infilled for much of its length. The ditch is most distinct along the western side of the hillfort, where it survives to a depth of c.1.5m and is 6m wide. The outer defences are similarly formed by artificial enhancement of the hillslope, although the earthen bank along this scarp is discontinuous. It survives to a height of c.2m around the western and southern sides of the monument where the more gradual slope of the hillside provides less natural defence. Elsewhere it has been reduced to less than 0.5m high and in places it is no longer visible above ground.

In the north east corner of the hillfort a break in the inner scarp forms an entrance, defended by the inturning of the earthen banks to either side. A large number of stones are visible in the short passage formed by this inturning, many lying flat against the banks, and these represent the remains of a retaining wall strengthening this vulnerable point. There are two further entrances, one in the north west corner, and one halfway along the western side of the monument, where the banks have been breached and the ditch apparently infilled with the spoil. The banks do not change alignment at either of these features, and they were probably created in modern times to provide additional access to the interior of the hillfort.

Pyon Wood Camp is situated in an imposing position and its Iron Age occupants would have commanded impressive views in all directions, including eastwards towards the large hillfort at Croft Ambrey, some 2km away (the subject of a separate scheduling). Both monuments would have been visible to the builders of the Roman road which passes north-south between them, close to the foot of Pyon Wood itself. The dense woodland cover now obscures views of the monument from a distance, however it is crossed by a number of paths. The stretch of fence on the outer scarp to the south west is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 10 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: 27508

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing