Enclosure and associated outworks on Staddon Hill


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.

Somerset West and Taunton (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 88143 37524, SS 88177 37668

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 some disturbance to the secondary outwork from tree planting, the enclosure and associated earthworks on Staddon Hill survive well and provide a good example of a hill-slope enclosure with two sets of clearly-defined outworks. Archaeological remains and environmental evidence are likely to be preserved within the enclosure's interior which have the potential for providing important information about the site and the wider landscape in which it was constructed. It is one of just five similar enclosures on Exmoor which have additional outworks, and is one of only two which have multiple outworks.


The monument, which is known as Staddon Hill Camp, lies in two separate areas of protection and includes a hill-slope enclosure with associated primary and secondary outworks. The earthworks are located on a north-facing slope of Staddon Hill, below Ashcombe Plantation. The site, which is believed to be Iron Age in date, occupies a spur on the north side of the hill which falls steeply away from the north and east sides to the valley forged by the Larcombe Brook below, and from the west side to an unnamed tributary. The ground rises gradually to the south and south west to form a wide plateau. The enclosure occupies the lower, north side of the spur and the outworks are situated broadly east to west across the higher ground of the plateau to the south. The enclosure is univallate and sub-circular in plan with an area of about 0.1ha enclosed by an earthen rampart bank with an external ditch. The bank is 7m wide and survives to a height of between 1.8m and 2.5m above the ditch which is an average of 6m wide. The ditch along the north section of the enclosure has a counterscarp bank around 0.4m high. There is one entrance into the enclosure which is located on the west side. It is a simple causeway type formed by a 4.4m wide break in the rampart banks which have rounded terminals; it is believed to be original. A sub-circular platform is located just to the north east of the entrance, adjoining the rampart terminal: it may be an original feature contemporary with the enclosure, possibly representing a hut site. The primary outwork is located about 20m to the south of the enclosure bank. It is aligned east-west across the spur of the hill and is formed by a curved bank, about 60m long and between 0.2m and 1.2m high with a ditch on the upper, south side. A secondary outwork bank and ditch which follows the same alignment is located a further 110m to the south. This is 74m long and between 0.2m and 2m high above the ditch which flanks the south side of the bank. The original profile of the ditch has been modified in places by the addition of a later field bank and, more recently by forestry activities. The original purpose of the hill-slope enclosure remains uncertain. That it had a defensive role, considering its spur-end position with additional outworks, and that it was used for pastoral management, are both common suggestions. All fence posts and fencing 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.

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Books and journals
Riley, H, Wilson-North, R, The Field Archaeology of Exmoor, (2001), 65-70
Riley, H, Wilson-North, R, The Field Archaeology of Exmoor, (2001), 65-70
SS 83 NE 4, National Monuments Record,


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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