Earthwork enclosure on Monkslade Common, 860m east of Fire Tower


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021121

Date first listed: 11-Aug-2003


Ordnance survey map of Earthwork enclosure on Monkslade Common, 860m east of Fire Tower
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: Luxborough

National Park: EXMOOR

National Grid Reference: SS 99468 39174


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

Reasons for Designation

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of Exmoor monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Hillslope enclosures provide the main evidence for the Iron Age on Exmoor. First categorised by Lady Aileen Fox in 1952, their morphology has been refined by the Royal Commission survey. Despite their name they do not occur only on hillslopes, although their usual location is on a sheltered valley side. They are smaller than hillforts, generally no larger than between 50m and 80m across, and usually less well defended. The enclosure itself is defined by a single bank, often with an associated ditch, with a single entrance. In some cases, where natural slopes form part of the defences, the bank may not form a complete circuit and may be missing where the angle of slope acts in its stead. Where it can be recognised, the settlement evidence within these enclosures comprises platforms indicating the position of buildings. Around 50 hillslope enclosures with upstanding earthworks have been identified on Exmoor. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples, particularly those with a complete or near complete circuit of defences, are considered worthy of protection.

Despite having been reduced, probably by past cultivation practices, the Iron Age hill-slope enclosure on Monkslade Common, 860m east of the Fire Tower, survives comparatively well. It is one of a number of similar enclosures which occupy hill-slopes in the locality. It will contain environmental evidence and archaeological deposits which will provide important information about the purpose of the enclosure, its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived.


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


The monument includes an earthwork enclosure situated on the western side of Monkslade Common near the crest of a north east facing slope of Monkham Hill. The enclosure, which is believed to date from the Iron Age, is oval in plan and follows a general north-south alignment with its long axis following the natural contour of the hill. The overall dimensions of the enclosure are 68m from north to south and 54m east to west. It is defined on the north, south and east sides by a ditch 7m in width and 0.7m deep with a low internal bank; traces of a low counterscarp bank are also visible, most obviously on the south and west sides. The western side of the enclosure is defined by a bank 1.2m high and an external ditch, 0.5m deep, visible on the south west side. Material for the banks is probably derived from terracing to create a level interior and from the external ditches. The probable original entrance into the enclosure is on the south side and defined by a simple gap in the ditch and bank. Within the enclosure are traces of a sub-circular building platform 10.5m across and 0.4m high on its north and north east side, it is defined on its east and south east side by the line of the enclosure bank.

All fencing and fence posts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath 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: 35709

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, Archaeology of Exmoor, (1970), 88
SS 93 NE 6, National Monuments Record,

End of official listing