Iron Age hillfort known as Burleigh Dolts, 280m south east of Burleigh Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Iron Age hillfort known as Burleigh Dolts, 280m south east of Burleigh Farm
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

South Hams (District Authority)
South Hams (District Authority)
South Huish
National Grid Reference:
SX 70802 40594

Reasons for Designation

Multiple enclosure forts comprise an inner and one or more outer enclosed areas, together measuring up to c.10ha, and defined by sub-circular or sub- rectangular earthworks spaced at intervals which exceed 15m; the inner enclosure is usually entirely surrounded by a bank and ditch. The forts date mainly to the Late Iron Age (350 BC-c.AD 50) and in England usually occur in the south west. Most are sited on hillslopes overlooked by higher ground near a water supply, and many were apparently used for periods of up to 250 years. The outer enclosures of the forts are usually interpreted as areas set aside for the containment of livestock, whilst the inner enclosures are generally thought to have been the focus of occupation. The earthworks usually include a bank with an outer V-shaped ditch 1m-3m deep. Entrances are generally single gaps through each line of defence, often aligned to create a passage from the outer to the inner enclosure, although there are a few examples where entrances through successive earthworks are not in alignment. Occasionally the interval between the gaps is marked by inturned ramparts or low banks and ditches, while the outer entrance may be screened by a short length of earthwork. Excavations within the inner enclosures have revealed a range of buildings and structures, including circular structures, hearths, ovens and cobbled surfaces as well as occasional small pits and large depressions which may have functioned as watering holes. Multiple enclosure forts are relatively rare with only around 75 examples recorded in England, mostly in Devon and Cornwall. Outside these counties their distribution becomes increasingly scattered and the form and construction methods more varied. They are important for the study of settlement and stock management in the later prehistoric period, and most well-preserved examples will be identified as being of national importance.

Despite the reduction of many of the internal ramparts by ploughing, the Iron Age hillfort known as Burleigh Dolts, 280m south east of Burleigh Farm survives well. Substantial lengths of the fort's outer enclosure survive, fossilised in later hedgebanks. The fort's design is unusual in the locality, where a single line of defence is normal. The fort interior, its ramparts and their buried ditches will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the use and construction of the fort and the landscape in which it was sited.


This monument includes a large Iron Age multiple enclosure fort, located on a broad spur north of Malborough village. It commands a high and prominent location with wide local views. The monument survives as a series of three semi-concentric enclosures, partly preserved in later hedgebanks, surrounding a small ovoid central enclosure, now largely levelled. The best preserved rampart of the fort forms the north west side of this inner enclosure and is univallate. The hillside here drops steeply away, but the north east side slopes gently, while the south and west sides are virtually level. These sides of the fort were defended by the three outworks. The original main entrance appears to have been at the extreme eastern corner of the outer rampart, where the rampart ends turn in slightly. A faint hollow way is visible within this entrance. Another entrance, 110m to the north west is of later date. A hollow way followed by a modern footpath climbs up through it from the north, but the rampart here has no obvious break. A third entrance at the north west corner of the site has traces of a hornwork below it, projecting from the outer rampart and curving round to the east. Its western part is followed by a later hedgebank. The rampart on the north west side of the inner enclosure is about 5m wide, rising 0.8m from the interior and falling steeply 3.5m to the outer ditch. This is 9m wide, and up to 0.7m deep. A counterscarp bank with an outer glacis is 13m wide by up to 1m high. Elsewhere, the ramparts which survive in later hedgebanks are typically about 2m wide, rising from 0.8m to 1.5m from the interior and falling 1.5m to 2.5m to the exterior. Of the ploughed ramparts, the outer circuit on the west has a bank 9m wide by up to 0.5m high, with an outer ditch 7m wide and 0.4m deep. An upcast bank is 10m wide and 0.3m high. The intermediate ramparts on the south side are only visible as changes in the level of the field, on average about 0.4m high, although their ditches can be seen on aerial photographs. Within the inner circuit is a brick bunker associated with the use of the site as a radar station during World War II. The bunker, now used as a reservoir, is 9m wide by 13m long, embanked with earth, and is 3m high with a flat concrete roof. Traces of a service road pass along the inside of the former southern rampart to the east side of the site. All fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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:
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Books and journals
Fox, A, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in 18th Report of Archaeology & Early History, , Vol. 83, (1951), 35
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, (1999)


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

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