Lewesdon hillfort, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017034

Date first listed: 18-May-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 29-Oct-1999


Ordnance survey map of Lewesdon hillfort, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Jan-2019 at 04:27:22.


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

County: Dorset

District: West Dorset (District Authority)

Parish: Broadwindsor

National Grid Reference: ST 43654 01296


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

Reasons for Designation

Large univallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, ranging in size between 1ha and 10ha, located on hilltops and surrounded by a single boundary comprising earthworks of massive proportions. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the fourth century BC and the first century AD, although evidence for earlier use is present at most sites. The size of the earthworks reflects the ability of certain social groups to mobilise the labour necessary for works on such a monumental scale, and their function may have had as much to do with display as defence. Large univallate hillforts are also seen as centres of redistribution, both for subsistence products and items produced by craftsmen. The ramparts are of massive proportions except in locations where steepness of slope precludes easy access. They can vary between 6m and 20m wide and may survive to a height of 6m. The ditches can measure between 6m and 13m wide and between 3m and 5m deep. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances which often take the form of long passages formed by inturned ramparts and originally closed by a gate located towards the inner end of the passageway. The entrance may be flanked by guardrooms and/or accompanied by outworks. 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. Large univallate hillforts are rare with between 50 and 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located within southern England where they occur on the chalklands of Wessex, Sussex and Kent. The western edge of the distribution is marked by scattered examples in north Somerset and east Devon, while further examples occur in central and western England and outliers further north. Within this distribution considerable regional variation is apparent, both in their size, rampart structure and the presence or absence of individual components. In view of the rarity of large univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the organisation and regional structure of Iron Age society, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Lewesdon hillfort survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological deposits providing information about Iron Age society, economy and environment. It is one of four hillforts overlooking the western end of the Marshwood Vale within a distance of 8km representing an unusual concentration.


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


The monument includes Lewesdon hillfort, a large univallate hillfort on the top of a narrow hill, 525m north east of Brimbley Coombe Farm. It is one of four hillforts within 8km at the western end of the Marshwood Vale. All four are the subject of separate schedulings. The hillfort is defended on its south western and south eastern sides by a precipitous scarp. Along the northern side where the slope is less steep there are traces of an infilled ditch about 7m below the level of the interior which covers an area of about 1.2ha. At the western and southern ends the hillfort is approached across narrow ridges which create natural causeways. At the western end, crossing the ridge, there is a slight ditch, 2.5m wide and 0.5m deep, with traces of an outer bank, 4m wide and up to 0.5m high. Inside the enclosure there are traces of a bank, up to 0.5m high, running along the edge of the scarp which may be the remains of an inner rampart. Similarly at the southern end the slope levels off suggesting an infilled ditch with a counterscarp bank which crosses the ridge. The line of the ditch continues as a ledge along the south western scarp for about 80m. There is a possible internal rampart cutting across the ridge 4m wide and up to 0.8m high at this end. On the northern side, two trackways approach the top of the hill and cut through the defences; these are likely to be of a later date. The interior of the hillfort has been disturbed by gravel digging and timber removal. All fence and gate posts have been 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. 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: 31077

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing