Bury Wood Camp hillfort and earthwork enclosure 750m north of Raffinwood House


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
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Ordnance survey map of Bury Wood Camp hillfort and earthwork enclosure 750m north of Raffinwood House
© 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.

Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 81814 73942

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

Bury Wood hillfort survives well and partial excavation has shown it contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


The monument includes Bury Wood Camp, a large multivallate hillfort located on a promontory of Colerne Down at the southern edge of the Cotswold Hills between two spurs of a river valley. The enclosed area is sub-triangular with a slightly rounded hilltop of 9.2ha surrounded by a ditch 4m wide and up to 1m deep, and an outer bank up to 1.5m high on the east and north western sides and up to 2m high on the south western side, across the neck of the promontory. On the south western side, where there are no natural defences, there is a further ditch 4m wide and 1m deep and an outer bank up to 2m high and 3m wide. These are crossed by many causeways, interpreted as an indication that the construction of the monument was never completed. An entrance in the middle of the south western side is modern. At the north eastern corner the inner bank turns inwards to form a funnel shaped entrance leading to a hollow way running down the steep scarp into the valley below. Another entrance about a quarter of the way along the north western side also consists of inward turning ramparts forming a funnel shaped entrance. A small enclosure within the camp is visible on aerial photographs. It is circular, 72m in diameter, with a bank and outer ditch. Partial excavation of the site in 1959-60 has showed that an earlier structure existed at the north east entrance, indicated by drystone revetments within the northern rampart. In a second stage the entrance was remodelled and widened. At the north west entrance, four staggered post holes were uncovered as well as a cylindrical cavity 0.66m deep, interpreted as a gate post hole. Flint artefacts including scrapers, cores and flakes have been found within the camp as well as fragments of querns and a sarsen artefact. All fence posts and cattle troughs 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. 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.

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Books and journals
Grant King, D, 'Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine' in Bury Wood Camp, (1969), 21-50
Grant King, D, 'Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine' in Bury Wood Camp, (1969), 21-50


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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