Multiple enclosure fort at Round Wood


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.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SW 83713 40384

Reasons for Designation

Multiple enclosure forts comprise an inner and one or more outer enclosed areas, together measuring up to c.10ha, and defined by sub-circular or sub- rectangular earthworks spaced at intervals which exceed 15m; the inner enclosure is usually entirely surrounded by a bank and ditch. The forts date mainly to the Late Iron Age (350 BC-c.AD 50) and in England usually occur in the south west. Most are sited on hillslopes overlooked by higher ground near a water supply, and many were apparently used for periods of up to 250 years. The outer enclosures of the forts are usually interpreted as areas set aside for the containment of livestock, whilst the inner enclosures are generally thought to have been the focus of occupation. The earthworks usually include a bank with an outer V-shaped ditch 1m-3m deep. Entrances are generally single gaps through each line of defence, often aligned to create a passage from the outer to the inner enclosure, although there are a few examples where entrances through successive earthworks are not in alignment. Occasionally the interval between the gaps is marked by inturned ramparts or low banks and ditches, while the outer entrance may be screened by a short length of earthwork. Excavations within the inner enclosures have revealed a range of buildings and structures, including circular structures, hearths, ovens and cobbled surfaces as well as occasional small pits and large depressions which may have functioned as watering holes. Multiple enclosure forts are relatively rare with only around 75 examples recorded in England, mostly in Devon and Cornwall. Outside these counties their distribution becomes increasingly scattered and the form and construction methods more varied. They are important for the study of settlement and stock management in the later prehistoric period, and most well-preserved examples will be identified as being of national importance.

The multiple enclosure fort at Round Wood survives very well. Despite some modification of the inner enclosure and western rampart, and limited disturbance of the eastern rampart, it remains substantially intact. The old land surface underlying the upstanding earthworks, and remains of buildings, structures and other deposits associated with these, will survive. The location of the fort at the confluence of navigable waterways demonstrates the strategic importance of such sites in later prehistoric social and economic organisation. The reuse of the fort for post-medieval industry and transportation shows the renewed importance of the site in the local and regional economy.


The scheduling includes a later prehistoric multiple enclosure fort situated on a rounded inland promontory with low cliffs on the south side, at the confluence of Cowlands Creek and Lamouth Creek, just west of their confluence with the River Fal. The fort has an irregular plan, measuring up to 280m east- west by 230m north-south overall. It has two concentric curving earthworks crossing the neck of the promontory on the west side, and a sub-oval enclosure on the level top of the ridge within. The outer earthwork across the promontory neck has a rampart of earth and stone averaging 5m wide and 1.5m high. The west side of the rampart along its southern half is truncated and revetted, forming a modern field boundary. A buried external ditch extending to approximately 10m from the outer face of the rampart is visible on early mapping. An entrance near the centre is considered to be original. The inner earthwork lies 60m-70m to the east of the outer earthwork and has an earth and stone rampart 7m-8m wide and 1.5m high, with an external ditch 3m wide at its base and up to 7.8m wide at ground level and around 1.4m deep. The original entrance, at the centre, has a 5m wide causeway over the ditch. The oval enclosure, approximately 30m within the inner rampart, measures approximately 95m east-west by 60m north-south internally. The enclosing bank of earth and stone is 7m-8.3m wide and 3.2m high externally, and 0.5m internally. Its outer ditch is up to 4.5m wide and 0.5m deep. The entrance on the west side, aligned with those in the outer ramparts, has a causeway 2.2m wide. A system of leats to supply water for industrial use on or by a late 18th century quay to the east of the fort is visible around the south, east, and north sides of the promontory at mid-slope. The leats average 1.4m wide and 0.7m deep. The leat on the south side cuts through the fort's two outer earthworks, and is thought to have reused the external ditch to the south of the fort's oval inner enclosure after an earlier course was cut by quarrying. The course in the ditch was subsequently recut on the south east side, perhaps for quarrying or military purposes. To the north, the ditch of the enclosure was similarly used for a leat, which may be traced as far west as the entrance through the inner rampart. To the east, it descends from the enclosure ditch to a reservoir, before turning south below the oval enclosure. Post-medieval boundary banks run along the spine of the promontory on the west side between the fort's inner and outer cross-promontory earthworks, and to the south west of a quarry on the ESE side of the fort. The north corner of a small rectangular structure, possibly a post-medieval ornamental feature of the Trelissick estate, is visible above the cliff on the south east side of the fort. A trackway running north east across the fort from its outer entrance to Roundwood Quay was used in the late 18th and earlier 19th centuries to transport copper ore to the quay and coal to the mines inland. The modern garage and house, caravans, shed, boat, road and footpath surfaces, farm equipment, garden furniture, all fencing, gates and gate fittings, telegraph poles, wires, and fittings, steps, signposts and seats are excluded from the scheduling; however the ground beneath all 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:


Books and journals
Page, W, The Victoria History of the County of Cornwall: Volume I, (1906), 462
Ratcliffe, J, Fal Estuary Historic Audit, (1997), 50
Johnson, N, to Preston-Jones, A, (1989)
Mercer, R, AM7, (1972)
Penna, J, to Parkes, C, (2000)
Preston-Jones, A, AM107, (1994)
SW 84 SW 13, JP, Ordnance Survey Index Card, (1968)
Title: Feock Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Feock Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1079, 1081
Title: Feock Tithe Apportionment Source Date: 1840 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1390
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1880 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 1:2500 Map Source Date: 1907 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: Ordnance Survey 2" drawing Source Date: 1811 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:


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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