Hillfort at Castle Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017889

Date first listed: 03-Oct-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Jul-1998


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort at Castle 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 22-Oct-2018 at 23:50:44.


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

County: Hampshire

District: New Forest (District Authority)

Parish: Burley

National Park: NEW FOREST

National Grid Reference: SU 19873 03930


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 at Castle Hill survives comparatively well despite some disturbance to the interior by gravel digging. The ramparts and much of the interior of the hillfort remain sufficiently undisturbed to indicate that they retain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the original construction of the monument, its later use and the landscape in which it was situated.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated within the New Forest at the steep western edge of a gravel plateau overlooking the Dorset moorland 30m below. It stands on gravel soils overlying clay and sand. The roughly circular hillfort encloses an area of about 2ha beyond which the ground drops steeply to the west and north but is level to the east and south. Despite gravel digging within the monument during the 19th century, the defences survive around most of the circumference of the hillfort as a bank raised approximately 0.6m-2m above the interior and 2.5m-4.5m above a surrounding infilled ditch and low counterscarp bank. To the north the counterscarp bank is extended and the ramparts are partially out-turned and staggered either side of a narrow entrance through which a modern gravel road, Castle Hill Lane, now passes. The ramparts are of uniform size around the circumference but are relatively slight on the western side where they have been most affected by gravel digging and erosion. They are cut by the road to the south and south east and by a hollow way to the west. The eastern rampart has been clipped and the associated ditch has been infilled and counterscarp bank levelled by the construction of a later boundary bank and ditch. The interior of the hillfort is relatively level and undisturbed to the east but has been lowered 1m-2m and deeply pitted by the gravel digging in the centre and to the west. Ponds and bogs have now formed in some of the gravel pits. The gravel road, which forks within the monument and the fence and electricity substation located where the road cuts the ramparts to the south east, 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: 31153

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sumner, H, The Ancient Earthworks of the New Forest, (1917), 21-23
Williams-Freeman, J, Field Archaeology of Hampshire, (1914), 199 362
O.S. 25 in plan, annotated 1954, 1997, (1940)

End of official listing