Woolsbarrow, a hillfort on Bloxworth Heath


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018437

Date first listed: 26-Feb-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of Woolsbarrow, a hillfort on Bloxworth Heath
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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: Bloxworth

National Grid Reference: SY 89312 92552


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 sand and gravel extraction from within the interior, much of Woolsbarrow survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


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


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Woolsbarrow, situated on a flat-topped knoll on Bloxworth Heath, a plateau separating the rivers Sherford to the east and Piddle to the west. The hillfort, which is defined by a single rampart situated about 6m below the top of the knoll, encloses an area of about 0.63ha. The rampart includes a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. The ditch has become partially infilled, but is now visible as an intermittent earthwork 3.2m wide and about 0.5m deep. This is flanked by an outer counterscarp bank, also visible as an intermittent earthwork between 5m-6m wide and about 0.5m high. Where the bank has been reduced, its course is marked by a terrace up to 10m wide. The eastern part of the interior of the hillfort has been subjected to sand and gravel extraction, and this area of the hillfort interior is now approximaely 1.2m lower than the western and north western areas, and only the lower levels of deep archaeological features, such as storage pits, will survive. The mound situated within the north eastern part of the hillfort is thought to represent a spoil heap produced by sand and gravel quarrying, while the group of irregular mounds situated on the north western side of the hillfort are natural features.

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: 29086

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Historical Monuments in the County of Dorset: Volume I, (1970), 487
Mention natural mounds to the west, RCHME, National Monuments Record,
Mounds not barrows as thought by OS, RCHME, National Monuments Record,

End of official listing