Hillfort known as Castle Hill Settlement, 350m south of Woolleigh Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021417

Date first listed: 23-Mar-2009


Ordnance survey map of Hillfort known as Castle Hill Settlement, 350m south of Woolleigh Bridge
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Jan-2019 at 22:41:56.


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

County: Devon

District: Torridge (District Authority)

Parish: Beaford

National Grid Reference: SS 52354 16834


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

Reasons for Designation

Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes, generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth - fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally. Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

Despite partial damage as a result of cultivation, the hillfort known as Castle Hill Settlement survives well and will contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to land use and society in this part of Devon during the Iron Age and may contain further evidence of re-occupation during the Anglo-Saxon period. The identification of this hillfort as the possible site of the battle of Cynuit certainly enhances its importance. Of particular note is the well preserved counterscarp bank on the particularly steep south east facing side.


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


The monument includes a hillfort situated on the summit of a pronounced promontory around which the River Torridge flows. The hillfort survives as an ovoid enclosure measuring 220m by 110m and is denoted by a rampart and ditch, which along the eastern circuit also has a counterscarp bank. The rampart stands over 2m high except around the southern circuit where it has been reduced in height by cultivation. The entrance is situated at the north eastern side of the hillfort and survives as an offset in-turned gap flanked by out-turned outer banks. Recent research has suggested that the hillfort maybe the site of the significant battle of Cynuit in AD 878. This battle between the Vikings led by Ubhe Ragnarsson and the Anglo-Saxons under the leadership of Ealdorman Odda, resulted in a victory for Odda and prevented the Vikings from gaining complete control of England. The hillfort appears to conform to the location described by contemporary chroniclers and place-name evidence, but further research will inevitably be needed to overthrow the generally accepted site at Cannington Hill near Bridgwater. The modern fence posts within the hillfort are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath 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: 36044

Legacy System: RSM


http://appledorebookfestival.co.uk/Cynuit.pdf, accessed from http://appledorebookfestival.co.uk/Cynuit.pdf
Devon County Council, Devon Historic Environment Record SS51NW6, (2006)

End of official listing