Iron Age hillfort known as Wasteberry Camp, medieval deer park and post-medieval warren, 800m north west of Lyneham House

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020160

Date first listed: 12-Feb-1958

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Apr-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Iron Age hillfort known as Wasteberry Camp, medieval deer park and post-medieval warren, 800m north west of Lyneham House
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Brixton

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Yealmpton

National Grid Reference: SX 57217 53778, SX 57390 54072, SX 57618 54347

Summary

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

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.

Despite slight damage by ploughing and stock erosion, the hillfort known as Wasteberry Camp will preserve features relating to the development and use of the site. Stratified archaeological deposits are likely to survive in the ditches, ramparts and interior of this previously unexcavated hillfort and will add considerably to the future understanding of this monument and hillforts in general.

Deer parks are areas set apart for the management and hunting of deer and other wild animals, dating from the 12th to 17th centuries, with most examples belonging to the 13th and 14th centuries. They were enclosed by high earth banks, sometimes stone faced, with large inner ditches, designed to allow deer to leap in, but preventing them from escaping. Despite some losses, the pale surrounding the deer park at Lyneham survives well, containing information relating to its construction and use. The bank and ditch will preserve stratified deposits. The reuse of the inner rampart of Wasteberry hillfort as part of the pale is unusual.

Warrens are areas, occasionally associated with deer parks, set apart for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually consist of an enclosure to contain and protect the animals, with pillow mounds or buries to house the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. They date from between the 12th and 19th centuries, with most examples dating from the 17th century onwards. The warren at Lyneham is well-preserved, its enclosure bank, rabbit buries and warrener's house together being a rare survival.

History

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

Details

This monument, which falls into three seperate areas of protection, includes a Late Iron Age multiple enclosure fort, a section of the pale which enclosed the medieval Lyneham deer park, and the bank enclosing a post-medieval rabbit warren containing three rabbit buries and an associated warrener's house. The fort sits on a broad spur on the edge of the steep sided valley of a small stream known as the Silverbridge Lake. Three lines of ramparts defend the level approaches on the north and west sides of the spur and are from 15m to 40m apart, separated by mainly level areas, sloping gently down at their south and east ends. The outer rampart survives mainly as an abrupt scarp, falling between 1m and 3m into the outer ditch, which varies from 5m to 10m wide and is up to 1m deep, with a counterscarp bank up to 10m wide and 0.3m high. The entrance lies to the north west with an inturned bank on its north side, and a massive southern bank, thickening up to 8m wide, rising 2m from the interior and falling between 4m and 5m to the ditch. At the south end, the gap between the outer and middle ramparts is closed by a slight scarp, falling away to the south. The middle rampart's bank measures from 10m to 18m wide, rising 1m from the interior and falling 3m to an external ditch 6m wide and from 0.4m to 1m deep. A counterscarp bank on the west side measures 21m wide and falls 2.5m at its south end, to a second ditch 8m wide and 0.2m deep. This counterscarp quickly disappears north of the entrance, which is in line with that in the outer rampart. Here, a causeway 20m wide crosses the ditch, with the inner bank widening to 18m, with plain terminals. A possible second entrance at the south end of the rampart is marked by a thickening of the terminal. Much of the inner rampart is very slight, its bank measuring 4m wide and 1.7m high with traces of an outer ditch 10m wide and 0.2m deep. The entrance is in the same position as the others, but is very slight in appearance. East of this, the north rampart widens to 9m and is 3m high at one point, but decreases in size towards its east end, where it turns to the south for a short distance, following the steep east side of the fort. No ramparts are present on the steep natural valley sides. The inner rampart has been remodelled to form part of the pale for Lyneham deer park, in existence by 1610. A drystone rubble wall 2m high on its inner side is accompanied by a wide flat-bottomed ditch and continues, facing an earth bank 3m wide and 2m high, from the south side of the fort down into the valley. From the north side of the fort, the pale runs along the west and north sides of Warren Wood, continuing across the valley to the north east, where a separate length survives for a short distance and is included in this scheduling. A further surviving length to the south east of this is the subject of a separate scheduling.

An earth bank along the valley floor on the east side of Warren Wood retained a post-medieval rabbit warren, a 1.3m high stone wall and accompanying ditch on its inside preventing the rabbits from escaping, while permitting the deer to leap in. A cluster of three rabbit buries at the north end of Warren Wood are laid out in a line. The southern bury is oval and measures 8m wide, 10m long and 1m high with traces of an encircling ditch. The central mound is 9m in diameter and 1m high with steeply sloping sides, while the northern one is oval, measuring 8m long, 6.5m wide and 1.2m high with steep sides. Neither have ditches.

A single-roomed warrener's house of stone rubble survives as a ruin within the ramparts of the hillfort. This had two storeys and measures 7m long by 5m wide. Each room had a fireplace, with an oven in the ground floor room, and a newel stair which gave access to the first floor. The house was located on the highest point of the warren and overlooked most of this and the park to its east.

The fence posts and track surfacings 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.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 33794

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Woolner, D, A, , 'Transactions of the Devonshire Association' in , , Vol. 88, (1956), 86-89
Other
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing