Hillfort at Bulbury Camp


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016725

Date first listed: 14-Jul-1933

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort at Bulbury Camp
© 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.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Lytchett Minster and Upton

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Morden

National Grid Reference: SY 92914 94215


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 some reduction by ploughing, Bulbury Camp slight univallate hillfort survives comparatively well and is known to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The monument is notable on account of its low lying position and the presence of inturned entrance earthworks.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Bulbury Camp, situated on a low south facing spur, overlooking Poole Harbour. The hillfort has a roughly circular interior with maximum dimensions of 220m from east to west and 200m from north to south and occupies an area of about 3.5 ha. It is enclosed by a single set of ramparts which include a bank and outer ditch. The bank, which has been reduced by ploughing, is visible as an intermittent earthwork 10m wide and about 0.5m high. The outer ditch has now become much infilled, but it is visible as an intermittent depression between 0.2m to 0.4m deep to the south, west and north. The north eastern area of the rampart is partially overlain by a house and gardens at Higher Bulbury Farm. The site was recorded by E Cunnington in 1884, when two pairs of entrances were noted to be aligned north-south and east-west. The entrances to the east and west were each associated with a pair of banks which curved into the interior of the hillfort, each extending for about 24m. The position of the entrances has since been obscured by ploughing although a possible remnant of a section of curved bank has been recorded as a low earthwork within the eastern area of the interior. The western entrance is partially marked by a short gap in the bank, while the one to the south can be seen within a more general reduction in the height of the bank. It is unknown which of the recorded entrances are original, but those to the east and west are likely to represent early features. Finds of pottery, metalwork and glass objects were made within the interior of the hillfort during the late 19th century and suggest occupation during the 1st century AD. Many of the finds are now held at the Dorset County Museum. All fence posts and gates are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. The structure of the house at Higher Bulbury Farm and associated underlying ground is not included in the scheduling.

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: 29088

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 492-3
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 492-3

End of official listing