Huntsham Castle


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 99099 17846

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.

Huntsham Castle, despite a brief episode of limited quarrying has remained largely intact. Undoubtedly, its prominent location has ensured that it has continued to be an important local landmark; this is clearly indicated by the presence of a parish boundary which crosses it from east to west. The monument will contain archaeological information relating to both its construction and use, as well as environmental evidence concerning the local area at the time of the hillfort's occupation.


The monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on a prominent hill overlooking the valleys of two separate tributaries to the River Lowman. The monument survives as a sub-circular enclosure, defining an area which slopes gently down to the south and measures approximately 150m in diameter. It is clearly demarcated on all sides by a rampart which varies in height from 1m up to 2.4m internally, being generally of greater height on the northern side of the enclosure. Externally this rampart is up to 2.9m high. Surrounding the rampart is an outer ditch which measures up to 5.4m wide and 0.4m deep and this is visible on all sides of the monument, although it is predominantly preserved as a buried feature. On the north eastern side, the outer edge of this ditch is defined by a field boundary bank and the infilled ditch has been used in the past as a track. There is an inturned entrance on the north eastern side which measures 7m wide, and the inturned banks are up to 2.2m wide and 0.4m high. The enclosure is crossed by a parish boundary bank which measures up to 2m wide and 1.5m high, and has been partially cut at the north eastern corner by a quarry, approximately 20m long, 15m wide and up to 2.8m deep, which lies to the north of the entrance. A further quarry lies to the south of the parish boundary bank, on the western side of the enclosure and measures 8.7m long, 5.3m wide and up to 1m deep. A third quarry lies to the north west and has partially cut into the ditch and rampart on this side; however much of this quarry lies just beyond the monument itself. A further entrance to the enclosure may lie on the western side, where the rampart is seen to kink slightly inwards. The stock proof fences around the rampart and ditch, the gates and gateposts which facilitate access, the Ordnance Survey triangulation point which is situated on the north eastern side of the enclosure just above the quarry, and the field boundary bank which defines the outer edge of the ditch in the north eastern corner are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath all these features 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:


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS91NE2, (1997)


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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