Berry Castle


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


Ordnance survey map of Berry Castle
© 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.

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 80161 09270

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.

Despite disturbance of the interior and reduction in the sizes of the ramparts through cultivation and the cutting of a road, Berry Castle survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological information relating to the construction and use of the monument as well as environmental evidence concerning the local area throughout the later prehistoric and historic periods.


This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated just beneath the summit of a ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Creedy. The monument survives as a `D'-shaped enclosure defined to the north and west by a rampart and ditch and having the ramparts integrated into later field boundaries to the south and east. The enclosed area measures up to 125m long north to south by up to 95m wide east to west. The whole slopes gently to the south. To the north and west the hillfort is defined by a rampart which measures up to 2.6m high internally and up to 3m high externally. This has been cut by an old established field entrance in the north western corner. Beyond the ramparts on these two sides is a largely buried ditch which is clearly visible measuring up to 6.5m wide and 0.5m deep. There is a splayed entrance through the rampart on the western side which measures up to 10.4m wide and has been blocked for some time. To the south the ditch peters out, becoming preserved as a completely buried feature, whilst the rampart has become integrated into the extant field boundary which measures up to 1.5m high. There is also an access gate in the centre of the southern side. To the east the rampart is again defined by the field boundary, although this and the outer ditch have been cut by the private road which runs alongside at this point. There is a second entrance on the eastern side, which remains in use as a field access; this is defined by slightly incurving low banks beside the gateway, and indicates the integration of the rampart into the field boundary at this point. The field boundary on this side is up to 1.1m high. The field boundary banks to the south and east should be viewed as an integral part of the monument since they are probably formed from rampart material; for this reason these features are included within the scheduling. The buried ditch on the eastern side which has been cut significantly by the road, and the road itself, are not included in the scheduling. The three sets of gateposts at the present entrances and the stock-proof fences both on the interior and exterior sides of the ramparts are excluded form 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:
Legacy System:


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS80NW2, (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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