Hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015463

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1968

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Dec-1996


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: North Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Queen's Nympton

National Grid Reference: SS 71260 22404


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

Reasons for Designation

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. 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. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Despite later reuse of the area, the hillfort 400m north west of Woodhouse survives comparatively well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the settlement and exploitation of this area during the Iron Age.


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


This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort which is situated slightly to the west of the highest point on the top of a prominent hill. It overlooks the valleys of the Rivers Mole and Crooked Oak, and also the confluence of the Rivers Mole and Bray and the settlements of George Nympton to the north west and Alswear to the ESE where the major river crossing is located. The monument survives as an irregular enclosure with a bank, ditch and an outer rampart. The central enclosed area measures 63m long from north west to south east, 34m wide at its widest from WSW to ENE and 22.6m wide from west to east at its narrowest. Within the central enclosed area there is a 4m wide and up to 0.3m high bank which extends around the north, west and eastern sides but this peters out to the south. In the north western corner is a further raised area, roughly oval in shape and measuring 5.5m long by 4m wide and up to 0.45m high. The whole internal area creates a slightly raised platform above the height of the surrounding field. Beyond the bank is a ditch, which to the west measures 5.8m wide and 0.6m deep. To the north the ditch is 5.4m wide and 0.3m deep and on the eastern side it is 7.5m wide and 0.3m deep. Outside the ditch is an outer rampart which is best preserved as a bank on the north eastern, eastern and western sides, downslope to the south it peters out to form a lynchet, and it also peters out in the north western corner. The maximum width of the bank is 7.8m and it attains a height of up to 0.6m.

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: 28623

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Wilson-North, R et al, Earthwork North of Woodhouse Farm, (1995)
Higham, R A, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Devon Castles: An Annotated List, , Vol. 46, (1988), 142-9
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS72SW3, (1985)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1995)
National Archaeological Record, SS72SW1,

End of official listing