Promontory fort 300m west of Great Woolden Hall Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015127

Date first listed: 18-Oct-1996


Ordnance survey map of Promontory fort 300m west of Great Woolden Hall Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Salford (Metropolitan Authority)

National Grid Reference: SJ 69118 93563


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 promontory fort west of Great Woolden Hall is well preserved in spite of the extensive later ploughing of the fields in which the monument is situated. The remains of buildings and stockpounds are conserved below the ploughsoil and much information about the environment at the time of the fort's occupation will be preserved in the fillings of the ditches.


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


The monument includes a defended promontory fort overlooking the Glazebrook on the north side of the river. The site is on a narrow ridge of sandy alluvium which is surrounded by peat mossland. To the south is Glazebrook Moss and to the north is the Chat Moss. The fort is thus protected by wetlands and appears to have been built to guard a corridor through the mosslands which would have connected the higher ground near Altrincham with the ridge which runs east to west from Worsley to Leigh and out into the south Lancashire plain. The promontory stands only 10m above the river but has steep slopes on the east, south and west sides. On the north side the site has been defined by a defensive double ditch curving around the northern side to cut off access to the interior. The interior is almost rectangular and measures 120m by 100m and is therefore 1.2ha in extent. The two ditches are 4m wide on average and 10m apart. They are traceable for the whole length of their construction. There is a possible entrance on the eastern side. The site was first located by an aerial photograph in 1986 and then partly excavated in 1986 and 1987. This has revealed that the enclosed area contained circular buildings and pens for livestock. A scatter of Roman pottery in the ploughsoil and a large sample of pottery known as Cheshire stony VCP found on the site confirm that it was occupied in at least three phases during the period 500 BC to AD 200. The post and rail fence on the edge of the slope on the west and south sides of the fort is not included in 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 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: 27594

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Nevell, M, 'Greater Manchester Archaeological Journal' in Great Woolden Hall Farm, (1988), 35-44
Nevell, M, 'Greater Manchester Archaeological Journal' in Great Woolden Hall Farm, (1988), 36-39

End of official listing