Norton Camp: a large multivallate hillfort


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021073

Date first listed: 15-May-1934

Date of most recent amendment: 08-Sep-2003


Ordnance survey map of Norton Camp: a large multivallate hillfort
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Craven Arms

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Culmington

National Grid Reference: SO 44712 81957


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

Reasons for Designation

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Access to the interior is generally provided by two entrances although examples with one and more than two have been noted. These may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses. These display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fencelines, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. These occur mostly in two concentrations, in Wessex and the Welsh Marches, although scattered examples occur elsewhere. In view of the rarity of large multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are believed to be of national importance.

The multivallate hillfort known as Norton Camp is a good example of this class of monument. It is one of only a small number of such sites known in Shropshire. The defences are well-preserved and retain significant information about their construction. In addition, organic remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces beneath the ramparts and outer bank, and within the ditches, will provide evidence about the local environment and the use of the surrounding land before the hillfort was constructed and during its occupation. Within the interior extensive remains of buried structures and associated deposits will survive. These deposits will contain organic remains and a range of contemporary artefacts, which will provide valuable insights into the activities and lifestyles of inhabitants.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of Norton Camp, a large multivallate hillfort, situated on a gentle south east facing slope on the summit of a hill. Its position takes advantage of the natural defences provided by the precipitous slope and cliff faces to the north west. The hillfort occupies a commanding position above the Onny valley, and there are extensive views to the south and east of the undulating lowlands and the uplands beyond.

Norton Camp is D-shaped in plan. Its overall dimensions are about 350m north west-south east by 360m south west-north east. The defensive circuit encloses an area of approximately 7ha. Its size indicates that it was occupied by a very large community where centralised economic and social activities were practiced, including the storage and redistribution of food and the performing of ceremonies. Around much of the defensive circuit the earthworks consist of two ramparts each bounded by an external ditch. The inner rampart has a narrow top and is steep-sided, whereas the top of the outer rampart is broader and has a more gently sloping profile, which is stepped in places. Within the ditch which separates these ramparts, rock-cut faces are still visible at the south western and north eastern ends. Running parallel with the defences on the south western side are two short outer banks separated by a ditch. These outer earthworks appear to have been built as additional lines of defence. Along the top of the precipitious slope on the north western side, the earthwork defences consist of a single, straight- sided, low rampart, defined externally by a narrow terrace which is adjacent to a natural cliff. On the top of this rampart stonework is visible and is probably the collapsed remains of a low wall, or breastwork. There are two entrances into the hillfort: one to the east and the other at the south east. Both are elaborate, with the ends of most of the ramparts turning inwards or outwards to form the entrance corridors. Within the interior, about 50m from the south eastern entrance, is an oval depression about 11m by 12m wide and 1.5m deep. This depression may mark the site of a former spring.

Much of the interior of the hillfort has been cultivated since at least the late 19th century. Within the north western area are remains of small stone quarries. Several breaks across the defences in the vicinity of the quarries suggest that they were created in order remove stone from the site.

A number of features are excluded from the scheduling. These are: Keepers Cottage and the associated outbuildings, the reservoir and its protective cover, animal drinking troughs, the surfaces of the modern farm tracks, all gate and fence posts, waymarker posts and stiles; however, the ground beneath all these features 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: 34943

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing