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.
Cadbury Castle occupies an imposing location and commands views in all
directions. Despite some reduction in the height of its inner rampart through
cultivation, it is well-preserved. Its strategic location was continually
understood throughout history, with evidence relating to possible Roman and
later historical reoccupations. The excavation of a small shaft revealed
important artefacts which serve to underpin its importance. The monument will
contain archaeological evidence relating to its construction, use and
subsequent reuse, together with environmental information concerning the local
area, throughout the later prehistoric and historic periods.
This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort, with additional later
earthen ramparts, situated on the summit of a prominent hill overlooking the
valleys of The Burn and three tributaries to the River Exe. It affords an
excellent vantage point with views in all directions.
The monument survives as an oval enclosure defined by a rampart and outer
ditch, to which a second rampart and ditch have been added to its eastern,
southern and western sides, and beyond which lies a further outer bank,
confined to the south. The inner enclosure measures up to approximately 120m
long east to west and 95m wide north to south internally. To the north this is
defined by a rampart which measures up to 3m high externally, to which the
later rampart is appended at the north west and towards the east. To the west
and south the rampart still survives up to 7.7m wide and 2.2m high externally.
Although a modern entrance has been cut in the north eastern side to
facilitate access, the original entrance probably lies more to the south east,
where the rampart gradually peters out. The construction of the second rampart
enclosed a larger area to the east, south and west and consequently, the outer
ditch was modified to produce a curving flat area measuring up to 12.9m wide.
The outer rampart on the south, west and east sides measures up to 3m high
externally. There is a modern entrance cut partially through this on the
southern side to facilitate access. Around this outer rampart lie the largely
buried remains of a ditch which measures up to 9m wide and 0.3m deep and is
visible on all sides of the hillfort; it probably also merges with the
original ditch to the north and east. The remains of an outer bank beyond this
ditch are discernible to the south where it measures up to 12.5m wide, 0.6m
high and peters out to the west and east.
An excavation of 1843 produced coins, beads, bracelets, pottery, finger rings
and a 17th century sword. They reputedly came from material used to backfill a
shaft some 58 feet deep of which there is now no trace, and this material may
have originated from a destroyed barrow. This is also the likely site of a
moot, or open-air court, which was responsible for administration and
organisation of the Anglo-Saxon and medieval countryside. The hillfort was
known to have been reoccupied by Fairfax in 1645. It was also depicted on
Donn's map of 1765.
There are a series of field boundary banks, stock proof fences and gateways
surrounding the hillfort which are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath all these features is included.
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.