Napoleonic practice redoubt and later practice trenches on Wagbullock Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016333

Date first listed: 24-Oct-1997


Ordnance survey map of Napoleonic practice redoubt and later practice trenches on Wagbullock Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 18:49:12.


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

District: Bracknell Forest (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Crowthorne

National Grid Reference: SU 85664 65263


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

Reasons for Designation

Easthamstead Plain, the heathland plateau between Bracknell and Crowthorne, in 1792 was the scene of large scale military manoeuvres which have left an unusual combination of physical traces, and which appear to be unique in England. The exercises were designed to allow the Army to test its new Handbook of Military Manoeuvres, whilst sending signals of strength to continental Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution. They boosted morale in an Army still shocked by its defeat at the hands of revolutionaries in the American War of Independence, and demonstrated the Crown's ability to maintain order in the event of any Republican unrest in Britain. The manoeuvres lasted from 23 July to 8 August 1792. They adopted the strategy of building infantry or artillery redoubts as part of defensive lines behind which infantry squares and cavalry could be deployed. In essence, this was the strategy later used successfully by Wellington, notably at Waterloo. At Easthamstead Plain, the Army practised attacking a defensive line including eight specially constructed earthwork redoubts. The surviving redoubts are the only documented examples in England of a full battlefield defensive system of the Napoleonic period, equivalent in significance to the slightly later Royal Military Canal in Kent which was built to oppose the anticipated French invasion. They are therefore all considered to be of national importance and worthy of protection.

The redoubt on Wagbullock Hill survives in the form of earthworks and buried deposits. The later trenches, which are believed to date to the period of the Boer War, provide evidence of a further phase of military training activity.


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


The monument includes one of a series of practice redoubts, constructed in 1792, in a 2km long line running north west-east along the edge of a plateau formerly known as Easthamstead Plain. The redoubt lies on the summit of Wagbullock Hill and is connected with a series of later trenches which originally enclosed the whole hill top. The redoubt includes an earthen bank and ditch forming a military fieldwork measuring 46m across and roughly square in plan. It is enclosed by an open ditch measuring up to 2m wide and roughly 1m deep, although now partly infilled with leaf litter. Immediately inside the ditch stands a low earthen bank 1m high externally and 0.5m high internally. The trenches are a later feature, probably associated with troop training during the Boer War and consist of a single line of hand dug trenches with the earth thrown up to form a slight rampart on the outside (down slope). They are now partly infilled but measure between 0.75m and 1.5m wide, and were originally up to 1m deep. The ramparts are no longer visible along the entire circuit, but where they survive these measure about 0.6m high and 0.7m wide. The site also shows evidence of more recent fox holes as well as the reuse of some of the features during training associated with World Wars I and II.

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: 28180

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing