Hillfort at Castle Piece


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016716

Date first listed: 13-Sep-1963

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jun-2001


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort at Castle Piece
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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.

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Ellingham, Harbridge and Ibsley

National Park: NEW FOREST

National Grid Reference: SU 19902 08932

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 slight univallate hillfort at Castle Piece survives particularly well as a substantial earthwork and, despite some limited disturbance from a trackway, will retain archaeological information relating to its construction and use. In addition, the old land surfaces sealed beneath the ramparts are likely to contain well-preserved environmental evidence pertaining to the contemporary landscape within which the hillfort was constructed. The hillfort's location within a public access area gives it significance as a potential public amenity.


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on the western slopes of a gravel spur within the New Forest. The hillfort is sub-circular in plan and has ramparts constructed of a sandy, gravelly clay which enclose an area of roughly 2ha. The ramparts follow the contours of the hillslope and are broadest on the southern side of the enclosure, measuring approximately 17m in width at their base, and up to 1.5m in height. In comparison the ramparts on the western side are relatively slight. A marked inturn within the south eastern rampart, either side of a break approximately 8m in width, probably indicates the location of the original entrance, whilst slight traces of an external ditch are visible at the base of the south eastern and north eastern ramparts. The ditch at the base of the north eastern rampart also has evidence of a slight counterscarp bank. The hillfort has been partially disturbed by a trackway which bisects its eastern side.

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: 30271

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of the New Forest, (1917)
Hampshire County Council, SU 10 NE 7,

End of official listing