Hilltop enclosure at Yellowberries Copse, 430m west of Higher Turtley


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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

South Hams (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 69212 58608

Reasons for Designation

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits. Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds. More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Despite some infilling of the ditch, the hilltop enclosure at Yellowberries Copse survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction and use, the landscape in which it was built, and the economy of those who used it.


This monument includes a prehistoric hilltop enclosure, located on a steep north facing hillside. It commands a high and prominent location with extensive local views, notably of several other prehistoric enclosures on Dartmoor to the north. The enclosure is ovoid, lying along the contour which is aligned north east to south west. The interior, which is 90m wide by 100m long, is defined by ramparts which survive best on the north and east sides. Here the bank is 8m wide and stands between 0.4m and 1m high, and the outer ditch is up to 10m wide and from 0.5m to 0.9m deep. A hedgebank follows the outer ditch along the south, east and north sides. On the south side is the original entrance, now abandoned. Here, the rampart thickens to 16m wide and bends into the enclosure, standing up to 1.2m high. While the outer ditch on the west side is obscured, the rampart is visible as a change in the slope, up to 9m wide and 1.8m high. Towards its north end, the ditch becomes visible as a terrace whose outer edge slopes steeply away down the hill. The interior slopes down steeply to the north west with two earthwork terraces running across the site. Both are 15m wide and up to 2m high. A medieval hollow way climbs the hillside from the north and passes outside the rampart to the north west. Here it forms part of the scheduling. All modern track surfaces and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Wall, J, The Victoria History of the County, (1906), 612
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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