Hillfort 475m south of Howley Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018636

Date first listed: 11-Jun-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort 475m south of Howley Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 18-Dec-2018 at 11:23:08.


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

County: Somerset

District: South Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Whitestaunton

National Grid Reference: ST 26505 08939


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 slight univallate hillfort 475m south of Howley Farm survives well and is unusual in having been involved in the production of iron. The monument will provide valuable archaeological information relating to the monument, the lives of its inhabitants, their economy and the landscape in which they lived.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric slight univallate hillfort located on the east edge of the Blackdown Hills. The site is aligned from north to south and situated on a ridge of greensand which drops steeply down to the west into the valley of the River Yarty. The hillfort, which measures approximately 148m from east to west at its widest and 324m from north to south including the entrance arthworks, is oval in plan with an area of approximately 2ha enclosed by a bank with a surrounding external ditch. The dimensions of the bank vary throughout the circuit of the hillfort ranging from between 3m high from the base of the ditch on the east side and 10.7m high on the inner slope on the western side. The ditch is flat-bottomed in profile with an average width of 4.8m. Additional defences on the west of the hillfort in the wooded area have been provided by the scarping of the steep natural slope outside the ditch. The original entrance to the hillfort is located on the extreme south and was created by the continuation southwards of the east and west banks for 60m forming a 9m wide passage way. A break in the bank on the north east is considered to be of a more recent date. Evidence that the site was used for producing iron has been found in the form of smelting refuse. Although a precise date has yet to be established for the occupation of this site, it is known that iron working was introduced to Britain from approximately 550BC. All fence posts and water troughs together with the dutch barn, located adjacent to the ditch on the north east of the hillfort 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: 32158

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing