Hillfort and medieval settlement in South Longridge Wood


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018518

Date first listed: 13-Apr-1977

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Nov-1998


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort and medieval settlement in South Longridge Wood
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 22:41:27.


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

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Lydford

National Grid Reference: SX 49709 83850


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 afforestation the hillfort in Longridge Wood survives well and provides information concerning the character of Iron Age occupation on the fringes of Dartmoor. This enclosure is one of a group of three later prehistoric enclosures lying within the Lyd valley. The reuse of the hillfort in the medieval period is unusual and provides evidence for continuity of occupation. The location of the hillfort and settlement immediately above a rich alluvial tin deposit may suggest that they were sited to take advantage of this resource.


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


This monument includes an Iron age univallate hillfort with internal medieval structures. It is situated on the top of a steep slope overlooking the valley of the River Lyd to the south and a further steep valley to the north. The hillfort survives as a rectangular enclosure defined by a rampart and outer ditch, with medieval structures within which attest to subsequent reuse. The enclosed area measures 66.5m long from north to south by 62m wide from east to west. The outer ditch which surrounds the monument on three sides measures up to 5.2m wide and 1.1m deep. To the north this ditch is replaced by a steep natural scarp. The rampart measures up to 9m wide at the base and up to 1.4m high internally. To the south an outer bank is also apparent above a very steep natural slope, this measures up to 1.4m wide and 0.3m high. The whole enclosure slopes gently to the north. There is an apparent entrance on the eastern side. Within the hillfort are a range of medieval structures. Central to the area is a longhouse which measures internally 29.3m long, 6.3m wide and is defined by low banks which measure up to 1.2m wide and 0.4m high. Surrounding this, on all but the southern side, are a series of circular and oval pits and depressions, as well as a two celled building and a square structure, representing further traces of the sites's medieval occupation.

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: 30349

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Silvester, R J, Balkwill, C J, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Hill-Slope Enclosures In The Lyd Valley, West Devon, , Vol. 35, (1977), 81-4

End of official listing