Small enclosed Iron Age settlement and a length of an adjacent hollow way, 350m north west of Beechfield


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021277

Date first listed: 22-Jun-2004


Ordnance survey map of Small enclosed Iron Age settlement and a length of an adjacent hollow way, 350m north west of Beechfield
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Shropshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Worthen with Shelve

National Grid Reference: SJ 30045 05762


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

Reasons for Designation

During the Iron Age a variety of settlement types were constructed throughout Britain. Small enclosed settlements consist of discrete areas of occupation, bounded largely or wholly by continuous single or concentric ditches, banks or walls, and palisades. The size of these curvilinear or rectilinear enclosures is generally less than 2ha. They were occupied by a small community, perhaps a single family or several related family groups. In their original form the enclosures contained a single main domestic building, or several clusters of domestic buildings. These structures are normally circular and are often associated with rectangular buildings used for the storage of agricultural produce. Small enclosed settlements became common features in the landscape during the second half of the first millennium BC. Settlements of this type continued to be built and occupied throughout the Roman period. They were the dwelling places of people engaged in small-scale farming and craft production. Considerable numbers of small enclosed settlements are known, but most have been levelled by ploughing. All small enclosed settlements where earthwork or standing structural remains survive are considered to be of national importance.

Although it has been partially modified by later agricultural activity, the small enclosed Iron Age settlement 350m north west of Beechfield is a good example of this class of monument. In common with the other broadly contemporary settlements overlooking the Rea Brook valley, it is considered to contain significant buried deposits, structural features and artefactual and organic remains. These have the potential to illustrate many aspects of life during the Iron Age. The defences will retain evidence about the nature of their construction. Organic remains surviving in the buried ground surfaces beneath the ramparts and the outer bank, and within the ditches, will provide important information about the local environment and the use of the surrounding land before the settlement was built and during its occupation.

The adjacent hollow way, as part of a network of long-established routeways, gives an indication about the movement of goods and livestock during the medieval period. These routeways are therefore important for understanding the economic history of this region.


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


The monument includes the earthwork and buried remains of a small enclosed Iron Age settlement and a length of an adjacent hollow way. The settlement is situated on the top of a spur, at its southern end, from where there are extensive views of the Rea Brook valley to the south and south west, and the uplands beyond.

The enclosed settlement is oval in plan. Its overall dimensions are approximately 120m east-west by 145m north-south. The area defined by the defences is about 0.5ha, which in the northern half falls steadily from north to south. The earthwork defences consist of two ramparts constructed of earth and stone, each bounded by external ditches with an outer (counterscarp) bank around all of the circuit except to the north east. In several places the rock-cut face of the inner ditch can still be seen. The defences stand to their greatest height around the western and southern parts of the circuit. Here, the combined maximum height of the inner rampart and the depth of the inner ditch measures 3.2m, while the combined measurement for the outer rampart and ditch is 2.3m. Around the whole of the circuit the outer ditch has been infilled and is visible as a shallow depression or as a terrace, and is defined by the external scarp of the outer bank. The ditch survives as a buried feature. The outer rampart and outer ditch along the southern side are partly overlain by a later field boundary bank. On the eastern side, the two ramparts have been reduced in height by later ploughing. The area of former cultivation extends across the interior of the settlement and is marked by a series of cultivation ridges aligned north-south. Also within the interior, and clearly pre-dating these cultivation remains, are a number of artificially created platforms, some of which are cut into the sloping ground. These platforms provided level areas for the construction of houses and ancillary buildings. A geophysical survey undertaken in 1999 confirmed the presence of buried structural features within the interior.

The original entrance into the settlement lies on the eastern side, and is defined by the ends of the outer rampart which turn inward. Next to the entrance, immediately to the east, is a sizeable linear depression, or hollow way, which partly cuts through the infilled outer ditch of the settlement. The hollow way runs around the lower slopes of the spur to the south and then continues northwards past the settlement. The deep profile of the hollow way has been formed by the regular passage of people, vehicles and animals over a considerable time, probably beginning early in the medieval period. The hollow way forms part of a local network of long-established routeways, and a 40m length of it adjacent to enclosed settlement is included in the scheduling in order to preserve this relationship.

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.


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

Legacy System number: 34945

Legacy System: RSM


Wigley, A, Walton Camp, 1999: a geophysical survey, 1999, Undergraduate project

End of official listing