Hillfort and lynchets on Castle Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016324

Date first listed: 10-Mar-1925

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Dec-1997


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort and lynchets on Castle Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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: Swindon (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Blunsdon St. Andrew

National Grid Reference: SU 15704 91164


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.

The hillfort on Castle Hill survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which it was built. Lynchets appear as parallel terraces which are most commonly seen on steep hillsides. They provide distinctive traces of medieval agricultural activities in downland areas, indicating the level of intensity of land use and farming practices through time. The lynchets situated on the north western side of the hillfort will contain archaeological deposits providing evidence for economy and the environment during the medieval period.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort and lynchets on the northern outskirts of Swindon. The site occupies the level summit of Castle Hill, a slight promontory with extensive views to the north and north west across the Thames Valley. The hillfort, which encloses an area of 3.5ha, is aligned approximately north west to south east and is broadly triangular in plan with the north western side forming a rounded angle. The southern and western sides of the hillfort are formed by a bank which is a maximum of 15m wide. Beyond this is a ditch 20m wide and a counterscarp bank. The crest of the bank is at a height of 4.5m above the base of the ditch. The remaining circuit of the hillfort has no surface earthworks representing fortification; the northern and north eastern slopes of the promontory form natural defences. A break in the earthworks at the south western and south eastern angle of the hillfort is probably the original entrance. Low earthworks located within the south eastern corner of the hillfort may be the remains of occupation. The ramparts on the north western side of the hillfort have been levelled to form several lynchets, most probably during the medieval period. All telegraph poles and fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling although 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: 28951

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing