Slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, 750m east of Holwell Lodge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019782

Date first listed: 14-Jan-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jul-2001


Ordnance survey map of Slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, 750m east of Holwell Lodge
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1019782 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 21-Jan-2019 at 06:21:21.


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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Holbeton

National Grid Reference: SX 62094 50531, SX 62390 50516, SX 62438 50663


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 some damage to its ramparts, the Iron Age hillfort known as Holbury Camp is well-preserved. Its ramparts, surrounding ditch, hornwork and interior will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to the hillfort and the landscape in which it was built. Despite partial reduction, the outer ramparts remain of importance in understanding the development of the site.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument, which falls into three separate areas of protection, includes a slight univallate hillfort known as Holbury Camp, located on gently sloping ground on the south side of a hilltop, and two outworks. The site's prominent location gives it dramatic views down the Erme estuary to the south. Several other local hillforts can be seen from the ramparts. The hillfort has an ovoid central enclosure with a single rampart, and measures 280m long by 220m wide across the outer limits of the visible earthworks. It straddles the 80m and 90m contours, with its highest point of 96m on the north side. The rampart includes a bank, outer ditch and counterscarp. The bank survives best on the north side, rising from the interior between 0.8m at its west end and 2.3m at its east. It is an average of 7m wide, but is from 10m to 12m wide by 2.6m high at the north east corner. The east, south and west rampart banks are fossilised into later hedgebanks, but survive mainly as scarps about 5m wide, falling to the outer ditch from 0.4m on the north side to 1.6m on the south. The ditch has largely been filled in and is now on average 15m wide and 0.2m deep on the south, west and east sides. On the north side, a modern track follows the ditch which is 0.4m deep and 10m wide at its west end and 0.8m at its east, where it is only 6m wide. A counterscarp bank here is up to 8m wide and 0.4m high, but has been reduced by ploughing elsewhere. There are four entrances, of which one is modern. This is on the south side and directly enters the fort interior. Of the original entrances, one is at the north east corner, where a causeway crosses the ditch and passes through a gap in the rampart. The ramparts are staggered here, the bank to the west being 8m forward of the other. A second entrance to the north west has a curving hornwork outside, forming a semi-circle 41m wide and projecting up to 30m from the rampart. Its bank is 10m wide and survives up to 0.6m high. An outer ditch up to 15m wide and 0.2m deep is visible on the east side of this hornwork. A third entrance, now blocked, lies on the west side. At this point traces of a causeway 6m wide are visible, crossing the outer ditch. A hollow way descends the field to the west. Two outworks are preserved in later field boundaries to the north and west of the hillfort. That to the west survives as a scarped bank 200m long and 3m wide, falling steeply up to 3.5m to a largely infilled outer ditch which is 10m wide and 0.4m deep. It curves sharply to follow the contour at its south end, but then disappears. A farm track climbs up the rampart here at an angle. It gradually disappears at its north end, a later hedgebank continuing around the contour. This boundary follows the rampart line to a point north of the hillfort, where a second section of outwork survives. This section is 210m long and 3m wide, falling steeply up to 2.5m from the field into a ditch 2m wide and 1m deep. The hedgebank follows the outer edge of this ditch, appearing to form a counterscarp bank in places 2m wide and up to 1.2m high. This falls steeply up to 5m and a woodland track follows its lower edge. At its eastern end the rampart disappears, but the track continues along the contour to the east into Yarninknowle Wood. 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: 33768

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Fox, A, 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in 23rd report on early history of Devon, , Vol. 87, (1955), 323-324
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing