Glead's Cleugh Iron Age promontory fort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014930

Date first listed: 13-Jun-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 27-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Glead's Cleugh Iron Age promontory fort
© 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: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Akeld


National Grid Reference: NT 94899 29077


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

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.

The Iron Age promontory fort at Glead's Cleugh is very well preserved and will retain significant archaeological deposits. It is situated in a commanding position above the Akeld Burn valley which suggests it was of some importance. The monument is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it will make a significant contribution to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


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


The monument includes the remains of a promontory fort situated on a natural spur of Akeld Hill above Glead's Cleugh. There are steep slopes on all sides except the north where a small valley isolates the promontory and artificial defences have been constructed. The fort is overlooked by Akeld Hill and White Law to the north and west but commands extensive views to the east towards the coastal plain. The interior of the fort contains evidence of habitation in the form of scooped areas and levelled hut platforms. The artificial defences comprise three very well preserved earth and stone ramparts with sharp profiles, they are separated by broad ditches. The outer rampart, 74m long by 5m wide and up to 2m high, has kerb stones visible on both inner and outer faces with areas of tumble evident in places. There is an outer ditch, 2.5m wide by 0.4m deep, outside the rampart with a slight upcast bank spread 3m wide. The middle rampart, 67m long by up to 3m high and 10m wide, is separated from the outer rampart by a flat bottomed ditch up to 4m wide. The inner rampart, 50m long by 0.2m-2m high and 6m wide, is separated from the middle rampart by a U-shaped ditch up to 9m wide. The ends of the ditches are closed on the west side by banks 2m wide and 0.5m high; on the east side the ditches are open and suggest the position of an entrance. The settlement is enclosed on the west side by a bank, 3m wide by 0.5m high, above the steep natural slope and at the south end a break in the bank may indicate an original entrance. Within the settlement are at least eight terraced or scooped platforms, between 6m and 16m in diameter, with one hut circle 5m in diameter visible. Attached to the outside of the outer rampart is a sub-rectangular annexe 12m long by 8m terraced into the slope.

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: 29308

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing