Kinver camp, a univallate hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015432

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1970

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Kinver camp, a univallate hillfort
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. 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 - 1015432 .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 19-Nov-2018 at 17:27:09.


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

County: Staffordshire

District: South Staffordshire (District Authority)

Parish: Kinver

National Grid Reference: SO 83570 83282


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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Kinver camp survives well and is a good example of this type of hillfort. Within the interior of the site, buried structural and artefactual evidence associated with the development and occupation of the hillfort will survive in good condition. Immediately behind the south eastern and south western ramparts in particular, there is likely to be a well stratified sequence of deposits which, together with the environmental evidence retained within the defensive ditch, will provide information on the economy of the site's inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. Kinver Camp is accessible to the public and serves as a valuable educational and recreational resource.


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


The monument is situated at the northern western corner and highest point of the Kinver escarpment, on the south western outskirts of the village of Kinver. It includes the earthwork and buried remains of a univallate Iron Age hillfort. Kinver camp is sub-rectangular in plan with external dimensions of approximately 210m north west-south east and up to 300m north east-south west. The defensive earthworks include a single bank and an external ditch along two of its four sides, whilst the naturally steep gradient of the escarpment is thought to have made the construction of a ditch along the hillfort's north western and north eastern sides unnecessary. The bank and ditch, therefore, define the south western and south eastern sides of the hillfort and terminate at, or close to, the edge of the escarpment at both ends. The ditch is approximately 24m wide and partly silted. Its north eastern and north western terminals have later been modified by small-scale quarrying and there is no surface evidence for the ditch at these points. The internal bank runs parallel to the ditch and still stands to a height of 8m-9m above the base of the ditch and 2m-3m above the hillfort interior. Towards the north western end of the south western rampart is a small brick-built structure which has been terraced into the outside of the bank. It is a former World War II shelter for the Home Guard and is included in the scheduling in order to secure the evidence for more recent defensive uses of the site. Parallel with, and some 3m from the internal face of the bank, are the remains of a low, linear earthwork up to 0.8m high, whilst approximately 5m beyond the external ditch, is a further low bank which also runs parallel with the defensive earthworks. These features, although giving the impression of an interior berm and an external counterscarp bank, are believed to be headlands resulting from 19th century ploughing around and within the hillfort following its incorporation into a rectilinear field system. Surface evidence for defences along the north western and north eastern sides of the hillfort is much less clearly visible although there is a low bank running along the former and a slight earthwork at the north eastern corner. The low bank is 0.7m high and can be traced intermittently for approximately 170m parallel to the edge of the scarp. It is believed to represent part of the defences along the north western side of the hillfort and is now surmounted by a discontinuous thorn hedge which has survived from its later use as a field boundary (which is marked on early Ordnance Survey maps). The slight earthwork at the north eastern corner of the site may represent an original defensive feature and is included in the scheduling. The original access into the interior is thought to have been at the north eastern end of the south eastern defences. Although the quarrying and later access arrangements in this area have resulted in a section of the ditch becoming infilled, there is no evidence of the ditch re-emerging within the natural scarp edge immediately to the north east, indicating that there is an original terminus to the ditch beneath the modern path and suggesting an entrance which has been partly lost through erosion and partly buried. The hillfort's earthworks enclose an area of approximately 3.75ha, the ground surface of which slopes considerably towards the south east and south. No internal earthworks associated with the occupation of the hillfort are visible within the interior, but the build-up of the ground surface, particularly alongside the south eastern rampart, will preserve stratified occupation deposits. The toposcope in the northern part of the interior, the steps built into the north western and south western sides of the monument and the concrete retaining wall at the northern corner of the hillfort are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 21634

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
RCHME, , Kinver Camp, (1993), 3
RCHME, , Kinver Camp, (1993), 2

End of official listing