Oldbury Camp univallate hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018855

Date first listed: 09-Oct-1981

Date of most recent amendment: 16-Apr-1999


Ordnance survey map of Oldbury Camp univallate hillfort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Warwickshire

District: North Warwickshire (District Authority)

Parish: Hartshill

National Grid Reference: SP 31345 94614


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.

Oldbury Camp represents the only known example of a slight univallate hillfort in this part of Warwickshire and the trial excavation of a section across the north eastern rampart demonstrated that the site retains well preserved features, including information relating to the hillfort's construction. Those parts of the interior which are included in the scheduling survive relatively undisturbed and are believed to retain both structural and artefactual evidence relating to the occupation of the site and the wealth and status of its inhabitants.


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


The monument is situated to the north east of Oldbury Grange and includes the earthworks and buried remains of part of Oldbury Camp, a univallate hillfort. The hillfort utilises a prominent ridge which rises to the west of the village of Hartshill and occupies an area of some 2.8ha. Oldbury Camp originally extended south east of the area of protection, but this area to the south east has been extensively modified by the construction of buildings associated with both the now demolished Georgian house, Oldbury Hall, which occupied part of the site until it was levelled in 1948, and a reservoir which was operational by 1954 and occupies the central part of the hillfort's interior.

Traces of the hillfort's defensive earthworks, a bank and external ditch, are visible along the north east, north west and south west sides. The best preserved section of the bank forms the north western defences to the site. It is visible as an earthwork, with a maximum width of 6.5m at its base, although its central section has been breached. In the late 1940s an excavation trench through the north eastern defences recovered evidence demonstrating that the bank was constructed of rubble held on the inside by a line of stone packing. Much of the external ditch has been infilled but will survive as a buried feature and is included in the scheduling where it survives. The north western section has, however for the most part, been removed by quarrying activities. A causeway across the ditch at the north west corner is believed to mark the site of an original entrance to the hillfort.

The central part of the hillfort's interior has been greatly modified by the construction of the underground reservoir in the mid-20th century, and this area is thus not included in the scheduling. However, those parts of the interior immediately adjacent to the hillfort's defences survive relatively undisturbed and are believed to retain buried features associated with the occupation of the site and are, therefore, included in the scheduling.

All fenceposts, modern walls and the surfaces of paths and driveways 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: 21586

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dugdale, W, Antiquities of Warwickshire, (1730)
Ferris, I M, Sterenberg, J, 'Birmingham University Field Archaeology Unit Report' in An Archaeological Evaluation at Oldbury Camp, near Nuneaton, , Vol. 206, (1992)
Dauncey, K.D.M., Oldbury, Excavation 1949: Advance summary (unpublished),

End of official listing