Clovelly Dykes hillfort
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1018522
Date first listed: 26-Jun-1924
Date of most recent amendment: 15-Feb-1999
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Torridge (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: SS 31129 23486
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
Despite agricultural activity and other development over the years, Clovelly Dykes hillfort survives well and is one of the most impressive hillforts in Devon. Unusually for the county, it does not sit on top of a hill, but instead commands an important strategic position on a plateau overlooking Bideford Bay.
This monument includes a sub-triangular multivallate hillfort situated on the
summit of a high upland ridge which has no naturally defended sides but which
does command far reaching views in all directions and excellent sea views.
The monument survives as a series of enclosures, demarcated by rampart banks
and ditches. The innermost enclosure is sub rectangular in shape with an
entrance to the east; the rampart measures up to 2.1m high, and the ditch
survives as a buried feature. The second enclosure is concentric to the first
with entrances to the east and south east. The rampart to this stands up to 3m
high, the outer ditch is up to 3.5m deep.
The outermost enclosure is roughly triangular in plan and has a steep rampart
up to 3m high. The outer ditch survives as a buried feature to the east, and
south, but is up to 3m deep on the western and northern sides. There is a
curving overlapped entrance to the north. Within the outer enclosure the
hillfort seems to have been subdivided by two smaller ramparts which run
approximately north to south on the western side, the banks attain a height
of up to 2.5m and the accompanying ditches are both preserved as buried
features. To the north west a large farm with its associated buildings has
cut into the outer rampart and ditch.
A large number of modern structures and features are excluded from the
scheduling; these are roadside signs and a sign for the nearby garage, a
letter box, telephone and electricity supply poles, the farmhouse, a series of
outbuildings including garages, covered yards and hard core, all tarmac and
concrete surfaces, a group of cottages all other modern structures and all
road surfaces; the ground beneath all these features is, however, 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: 32193
Legacy System: RSM
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS32SW5, (1991)
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