List of hill forts and ancient settlements in Somerset

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A photograph showing the hill fort called "Brent Knoll Camp" under a partly cloudy sky. The hill fort is on the top of the hill, and banks can be seen circumscribing the plateau.
A picture of Brent Knoll Camp showing some of the old walls

Somerset is a ceremonial county in South West England. It is a rural county of rolling hills, such as the Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, and large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. Modern man came to what is now known as Somerset during the Early Upper Palaeolithic era. In the Neolithic era, from about 3500 BC, there is evidence of farming when people started to manage animals and grow crops on farms cleared from the woodland, rather than act purely as hunter gatherers.[1][2] It is also likely that extraction and smelting of mineral ores to make tools, weapons, containers and ornaments in bronze and then iron started in the late Neolithic and into the Bronze and Iron Ages.[3]

The construction of Hill forts began in Britain in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC.[4] The reason for their emergence, and their purpose, has been a subject of debate. It has been argued that they could have been military sites constructed in response to invasion from continental Europe, sites built by invaders, or a military reaction to social tensions caused by an increasing population and consequent pressure on agriculture. The dominant view since the 1960s has been that the increasing use of iron led to social changes in Britain. Deposits of iron ore were separated from the sources of tin and copper necessary to make bronze, and as a result trading patterns shifted and the old elites lost their economic and social status.[5] Archaeologist Barry Cunliffe believes that population increase played a role and has stated "the forts provided defensive possibilities for the community at those times when the stress of an increasing population burst out into open warfare. But I would not see them as having been built because there was a state of war. They would be functional as defensive strongholds when there were tensions and undoubtedly some of them were attacked and destroyed, but this was not the only, or even the most significant, factor in their construction".[6]

There are numerous Iron Age hill forts and ancient settlement sites in the county, some of which were later reused in the Dark Ages, such as Cadbury Castle,[7] Worlebury Camp[8] and Ham Hill. Other hill forts, such as Small Down Knoll, Solsbury Hill, Dolebury Warren and Burledge Hill, may have had a domestic purpose as well as a defensive role. The Iron Age tribes of the Somerset area were the Dobunni in north Somerset, Durotriges in south Somerset and Dumnonii in west Somerset.[9] Iron Age sites on the Quantock Hills, include major hill forts at Dowsborough and Ruborough, as well as smaller earthwork enclosures, such as Trendle Ring, Elworthy Barrows and Plainsfield Camp. In addition to the hill forts, several sites have been identified as settlements during the pre Roman period including Cambria Farm and the "Lake Villages" at Meare and Glastonbury which were built on a morass, on an artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, rubble and clay. Most of the sites fell out of use with the coming of the Romans and therefore this list covers those sites occupied until that time.

Almost all of the sites in the list are Scheduled Monuments. In the United Kingdom, a Scheduled Monument is a "nationally important" archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorised change. Scheduled Monuments are specified in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, which defines a monument as:

Any building, structure or work above or below the surface of the land, any cave or excavation; any site comprising the remains of any such building, structure or work or any cave or excavation; and any site comprising or comprising the remains of any vehicle, vessel or aircraft or other movable structure or part thereof... (Section 61 (7)).[10]

Damage to a scheduled monument is a criminal offence and any work taking place at one of these sites requires Scheduled Monument Consent from the Secretary of State. In England, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport keeps the register, or schedule, of nationally important sites which receive state protection, which now includes over 31,000 sites.[11]

Known hill forts and settlements[edit]

List of hill forts and ancient settlements in Somerset
Site name
Alternative name(s)
Age National Heritage List for England number Plan or photo Location Description
Athelney hill fort Iron Age 1019099[12] Kingalfredsmonument.jpg Athelney
51°03′21″N 2°55′59″W / 51.0557°N 2.9331°W / 51.0557; -2.9331 (Athelney)

Athelney Hill fort is an Iron Age hill fort. It is in the area where Alfred the Great hid from the Danes after his defeat in 876 AD. The hill fort may also be the site where Alfred defeated the Danes two years later.[13]

Backwell hill fort Iron Age Stancombe Quarry - geograph.org.uk - 6143.jpg Backwell
51°24′33″N 2°43′44″W / 51.4092°N 2.7289°W / 51.4092; -2.7289 (Backwell Hillfort)

In 1933, Backwell Camp, an Iron Age hill fort, was discovered. Two of its three sides were protected by a ditch and a bank, with the outside of the bank on the edge of the cliffs upon which the fort was built. However, by 1956, quarrying had almost completely destroyed the site.[14][15]

Banwell Camp Stone Age
Bronze Age
Iron Age
1008031[16] Banwell
51°19′37″N 2°50′59″W / 51.3270°N 2.8496°W / 51.3270; -2.8496 (Banwell Camp)

Banwell Camp is a univallate Iron Age hill fort. Artefacts found in the campsite date back to the Bronze Age and Stone Age.[17] Some of the older banks in this site are still around 4 metres (13 ft) high.[18]

Bathampton Camp Iron Age 1002480[19] Bathampton Down - geograph.org.uk - 190802.jpg Bathampton
51°23′05″N 2°19′34″W / 51.3847°N 2.3262°W / 51.3847; -2.3262 (Bathampton Camp)

The site of an early Iron Age stock enclosure which may also have been a fort. It was also used as a Roman field system. The site was excavated in the early 1900s and again in the 1950s. Artefacts from the site include human and animal remains, pottery, and flint flakes.[20]

Bat's Castle
Caesar's Camp
Iron Age 1007667[21] Bats Castle Somerset Map.jpg Carhampton
51°10′11″N 3°26′58″W / 51.1696°N 3.4495°W / 51.1696; -3.4495 (Bat's Castle)

Bat's Castle is an Iron Age hill fort on the highest point of Gallox Hill.[22] Previously, it was known as "Caesar's Camp",[23] and it is possibly associated with Black Ball Camp. Bat's Castle has two stone ramparts and two ditches. The ramparts are damaged in places due to the number of visitors.[22][24]

Berry Castle
Bury Camp
Late Iron Age or early Romano-British 1006204[25] Luccombe
51°11′33″N 3°38′01″W / 51.1924°N 3.6335°W / 51.1924; -3.6335 (Burry Camp)

Berry Castle is a hillside enclosure which survives as a series of earthworks. It dates from the late Iron Age or early Romano-British period.[26][27]

Black Ball Camp
British Camp
Iron Age 1007668[28] Black Ball Hill - geograph.org.uk - 147022.jpg Dunster
51°10′26″N 3°27′14″W / 51.1740°N 3.4540°W / 51.1740; -3.4540 (Black Ball Camp)

Black Ball Camp is an Iron Age hill fort on the northern summit of Gallox Hill. It is also known as "British Camp" and is possibly associated with Bat's Castle.[29] It has a 3 metres (10 ft) high rampart and a 2 metres (7 ft) deep ditch. At the beginning of the 20th century, the foundations of a stone tower were visible.[30]

Blacker's Hill Iron Age 1015493[31] Chilcompton
51°14′57″N 2°31′20″W / 51.2493°N 2.5221°W / 51.2493; -2.5221 (Blacker's Hill)

This Iron Age promontory hill fort, Blacker's Hill, is roughly rectangular. It covers 6 hectares (15 acres) and originally had two ramparts and two ditches, but on the west and south sides, it was defended by the steep drop. In some places, the ramparts are still considerable, but on the north-eastern side, the inner rampart and ditch have been destroyed. There are three gaps, but only the one on the east seems to be original.[32][33]

Brean Down hill fort Bronze Age 1008211[34] Brean Down.jpg Brean
51°19′23″N 3°00′37″W / 51.3230°N 3.0102°W / 51.3230; -3.0102 (Brean Down Hillfort)

Brean Down is a Bronze Age hill fort situated on a peninsula jutting out into the Bristol Channel. In ancient times, there were fields and barrows around the fort.[35] The site is now a National Trust site.[36] Roman coins have also been found here.[37][38]

Brent Knoll Camp Iron Age 1008248[39] Brent Knoll Somerset Map.jpg Brent Knoll
51°15′15″N 2°56′45″W / 51.2543°N 2.9457°W / 51.2543; -2.9457 (Brent Knoll Camp)

The Brent Knoll Camp hill fort is a 1.6 hectares (16,000 m2) Iron Age hill fort that has been heavily damaged by cattle and quarrying. It is defended by a single wall around 10 metres (33 ft) high and by a single ditch, with an entrance on the eastern side. An urn containing coins of the Roman Emperors Trajan and Severus has been found at the site.[40][41]

Brewer's Castle Iron Age 1021358[42] Dulverton
51°03′23″N 3°35′42″W / 51.0563°N 3.5949°W / 51.0563; -3.5949 (Brewer's Castle)

Brewer's Castle, in Hawkridge Wood was an Iron Age defended settlement or hillfort.[43] It is very close to Mounsey Castle.

Broomfield Camp
Higher Castles enclosure
Late Prehistoric and/or Roman Broomfield
51°04′57″N 3°07′12″W / 51.0824°N 3.1199°W / 51.0824; -3.1199 (Broomfield Camp)

The univallate enclosure site at Broomfield dates from late prehistoric or Roman times. Archeological excavations in 1968 uncovered a trench through a bank and ditch which produced Iron Age pottery.[44][45]

Burgh Walls Camp Iron Age Long Ashton
51°27′05″N 2°37′40″W / 51.4515°N 2.6278°W / 51.4515; -2.6278 (Burgh Walls Camp)

Burgh Walls Camp is a multivallate Iron Age hill fort on the banks above the River Avon, near where it is now crossed by the Clifton Suspension Bridge. It is also called "Bower Walls Camp", "Burwalls", or "Bowre Walls".[46]

Burledge hill fort Iron Age 1004526[47] Burledge Hillfort.jpg Bishop Sutton
51°19′24″N 2°36′04″W / 51.3232°N 2.6012°W / 51.3232; -2.6012 (Burledge Hillfort)

Burledge hill fort is an univallate Iron Age hill fort situated on a promontory. The eastern side, the one with the most gradual slope, has an extra wall across it. Several pieces of clay found with iron slag indicate that the people who lived there may have smelted iron.[48]

Burrington Camp Bronze Age
Iron Age
1011261[49] Geograph 2559806 Burrington Ham.jpg Burrington Combe
51°19′17″N 2°45′02″W / 51.3214°N 2.7505°W / 51.3214; -2.7505 (Burrington Camp)

Archaeological discoveries of early cemeteries show that humans occupied the combe and its caves from the Bronze Age with some evidence of occupation during the Upper Palaeolithic period.[50] There is also a sub-rectangular Iron Age univallate hill fort.[51]

Bury Castle Iron Age 1008808[52] Bury Castle Somerset Map.jpg Selworthy
51°12′48″N 3°33′04″W / 51.2132°N 3.5511°W / 51.2132; -3.5511 (Bury Castle)

Bury Castle is a promontory fort that encloses an area of 0.2 hectares (0.49 acres). The main enclosure is encompassed by a single rampart and ditch, with steep drops on the north, east, and south sides. There is an additional rampart 30 metres (98 ft) to the west, with a deep ditch. The rampart is brevetted with drystone walling.[53][54]

Cadbury Camp Iron Age
Bronze Age
Neolithic Period
1008295[55] Tickenham Camp Somerset Map.jpg Tickenham
51°26′55″N 2°47′12″W / 51.4485°N 2.7868°W / 51.4485; -2.7868 (Cadbury Camp)

Cadbury Camp is an Iron Age hill fort that encloses around 28,000 square metres (7 acres). The banks surrounding this site are around 3.0 metres (10 ft) to 3.7 metres (12 ft) above the neighbouring ditches. A Romano-British shrine, a Bronze Age spearhead, and Neolithic flake tools have been found inside the hill fort.[56]

Cadbury Castle
Cadbury,[57] Camalet,[57]
Cadenbyrig
500 and 200 BC 1011980[58] Cadbury Castle Somerset Map.jpg South Cadbury
51°01′27″N 2°31′54″W / 51.0241°N 2.5318°W / 51.0241; -2.5318 (Cadbury Castle)

Cadbury Castle was fortified into a hill fort somewhere between 500 and 200 BC, and it encloses an area of 8 hectares (80,000 m2).[59] The site is associated with King Arthur's supposed court at Camelot.[60]

Cadbury Hill
Cadbury-Congresbury
Iron Age 1011258[61] Congresbury
51°22′49″N 2°48′12″W / 51.3804°N 2.8032°W / 51.3804; -2.8032 (Cadbury Hill)

This hill fort is known, in archaeological circles, as Cadbury-Congresbury in order to differentiate it from the Cadbury Castle. It appears to have been constructed during the Iron Age, and the remains of Iron Age roundhouses may still be seen inside. The hill fort was refortified around 400 BC and occupation extended into the sub-Roman period, from which much imported pottery has been recovered. It has been suggested that this was the monastery of Saint Congar after whom Congresbury was named.[62][63]

Cambria Farm Bronze Age Ruishton
51°00′58″N 3°03′38″W / 51.0160°N 3.0606°W / 51.0160; -3.0606 (Cambria Farm)

Cambria Farm is the site of a burned Bronze Age mound and Iron Age roundhouses.[64][65]

Cannington Camp
Cynwit Castle
Bronze Age and Iron Age 1006225[66] Cynwits Castle Cannington Somerset Map.jpg Cannington
51°09′32″N 3°04′47″W / 51.1588°N 3.0796°W / 51.1588; -3.0796 (Cannington Camp)

Cannington Camp is a univallate hill fort with walls that have been almost entirely destroyed. Archaeological artefacts such as stone scrapers, cores, and flakes have been found at the site.[67][68]

Castle Neroche hill fort 1st millennium BC 1008252[69] Castle Neroche Somerset Map.jpg Staple Fitzpaine
50°56′13″N 3°02′15″W / 50.9370°N 3.0374°W / 50.9370; -3.0374 (Castle Neroche Hillfort)

There are several bank-and-ditch earthworks near Castle Neroche, indicating the presence of a hill fort at some point during the 1st millennium BC.[70][71]

Castles Camp
The Castles
Iron Age 1019150[72] Bathealton
51°00′42″N 3°20′42″W / 51.0117°N 3.3449°W / 51.0117; -3.3449 (Castles Camp)

Univallate hillfort with a slightly inturned entrance.[73][74]

Clatworthy Camp Iron Age 1006149[75] Wiveliscombe
51°04′27″N 3°21′55″W / 51.0743°N 3.3652°W / 51.0743; -3.3652 (Clatworthy Camp)

Clatworthy Camp is an Iron Age hill fort situated on a promontory of the Brendon Hills above Clatworthy Reservoir. It is roughly triangular in shape with an area of 5.8 hectares (14 acres). It has a single bank and ditch, cut through solid rock. There may have been an entrance on the west and two on the east.[76][77]

Cleeve Toot
Cleeve Hill hill fort
Iron Age 1011263[78] Cleeve Toot hill fort - geograph.org.uk - 277089.jpg Cleeve
51°23′16″N 2°46′23″W / 51.3878°N 2.7731°W / 51.3878; -2.7731 (Cleeve Toot)

Cleeve Toot, close to the village of Cleeve, is a roughly oval settlement which is approximately 125 metres (410 ft) in length by 90 metres (300 ft) in breadth. Approximately 150 metres (490 ft) to the north is another, smaller settlement.[15][79]

Conygar hill fort Iron Age 1007918[80] Portbury
51°28′24″N 2°43′20″W / 51.4732°N 2.7223°W / 51.4732; -2.7223 (Berwick)

Conygar hill fort is a small Iron Age univallate hill fort. The fort is triangular in shape and there are the remains of a three foot high bank on the south-western side. There is a round barrow in the centre of the fort.[81]

Cow Castle Iron Age 1002955[82] Cow Castle Iron Age fort,Simonsbath,Somerset. - geograph.org.uk - 266665.jpg Exford
51°07′21″N 3°43′31″W / 51.1226°N 3.7253°W / 51.1226; -3.7253 (Cow Castle)

Cow Castle is an Iron Age hill fort occupying an isolated hilltop and has a single rampart and ditch, enclosing 0.9 hectares (2.2 acres). It is in the valley of the River Barle.[83][84]

Long Wood Enclosure Iron Age 1008255[85] Dunster
51°09′13″N 3°27′29″W / 51.1536°N 3.4580°W / 51.1536; -3.4580 (Long Wood Enclosure)

Univallate hillside enclosure, interior damaged by forestry plantation.[86][87][88]

Curdon Camp Iron Age 1006158[89] Stogumber
51°08′19″N 3°17′06″W / 51.1387°N 3.2850°W / 51.1387; -3.2850 (Curdon Camp)

Curdon Camp has been almost completely destroyed by quarrying and bulldozing. A section remains that is still 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) high on the southern and western sides.[90][91]

Dinghurst fort Iron Age Churchill
51°20′05″N 2°47′54″W / 51.3347°N 2.7982°W / 51.3347; -2.7982 (Dinghurst)

Dinghurst fort is the possible site of an Iron Age univallate hill fort.[92] Close to Dolebury Warren.[93]

Dolebury Warren
Dolebury Camp
Iron Age 1008184[94] Dolebury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Churchill
51°19′35″N 2°47′27″W / 51.3265°N 2.7907°W / 51.3265; -2.7907 (Dolebury Warren)

Dolebury Camp is a hill fort located on a ridge in the Mendip Hills 154 feet (47 m) above the surrounding area. The walls enclose an area of 9 hectares (22 acres), with the maximum height of 30 feet (9 m) on the northern side.[95][96]

Dowsborough
Dowsborough Castle hill fort
Dowsborough Camp
or Danesborough or Dawesbury
Iron Age 1010494[97] Dowsborough Camp Somerset Map.jpg Holford
51°08′43″N 3°12′05″W / 51.1454°N 3.2015°W / 51.1454; -3.2015 (Dowsborough)

Dowsborough is an oval univallate hill fort. The surrounding bank is around 1 metre (3.3 ft) to 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) wide and around 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) high. There is a ditch outside the bank, and the distance from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the bank is around 2 metres (6.6 ft) to 3 metres (9.8 ft). Near the entrance to the hill fort are two structures that are probably gatehouses.[98]

Dundon Hill hill fort Iron Age 1014715[99] Dundon Camp Somerset Map.jpg Compton Dundon
51°05′12″N 2°44′17″W / 51.0868°N 2.7381°W / 51.0868; -2.7381 (Dundon Hill Hillfort)

Dundon Hill hill fort is an Iron Age hill fort guarded by a single bank ranging from .5 metres (1.6 ft) to 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) high. Flint flakes, Bronze Age pottery, and Iron Age pottery have also been found.[100][101]

Elborough Hill Iron Age Hutton
51°19′13″N 2°54′22″W / 51.3202°N 2.9062°W / 51.3202; -2.9062 (Berwick)

Elborough Hill is the site of a bivallate hill fort, oval in shape, and defined by a triple bank on the northern side and a double out-turned bank on the southern side.[102]

Elworthy Barrows Iron Age 1020724[103] Elworthy Barrows Somerset Map.jpg Brompton Ralph
51°05′45″N 3°19′46″W / 51.0959°N 3.3295°W / 51.0959; -3.3295 (Elworthy Barrows)

Elworthy Barrows is a heavily damaged circular hill fort which had never been finished. It was ploughed multiple times until around 1943, when artifacts were discovered.[104][105]

Glastonbury Lake Village Iron Age 1006156[106] Glastonbury lake village.jpg Glastonbury
51°09′48″N 2°43′35″W / 51.1633°N 2.7264°W / 51.1633; -2.7264 (Glastonbury Lake Village)

Glastonbury Lake Village is an Iron Age lake village in Glastonbury. Each house was built on its own mound of clay in the lake, starting around 250 BC and continuing for at least 150 years. The entire settlement is surrounded by a pallisade made of timbers.[107][108]

Glastonbury Tor Stone Age 1019390[109] Glastonbury Tor.jpg Glastonbury
51°08′41″N 2°42′01″W / 51.1446°N 2.7004°W / 51.1446; -2.7004 (Glastonbury Tor)

Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic flint tools have been found at Glastonbury Tor,[110] which indicates that the site may have been occupied in the Stone Age. It is very close to the Glastonbury Lake Village, which was occupied in the Iron Age, starting around 250 BC.[107][111]

Grabbist hill fort Iron Age 1021060[112] Dunster
51°11′00″N 3°27′23″W / 51.1832°N 3.4565°W / 51.1832; -3.4565 (Grabbist)

Oval shape measuring 886 feet (270 m) by 220 feet (67 m), surrounded by a bank and ditch.[113][114]

Ham Hill hill fort Iron Age 1003678[115] Ham Hill Somerset Map.jpg Ham Hill
50°56′54″N 2°44′30″W / 50.9483°N 2.7416°W / 50.9483; -2.7416 (Ham Hill Hillfort)

The Iron Age hill fort located on Ham Hill, called Ham Hill hill fort, is possibly the largest hill fort in Somerset. It measures 800 metres (2,600 ft) by 950 metres (3,120 ft),[116] enclosing an area of 81 hectares (200 acres).[117] Ham Hill hill fort is surrounded by banks, some of which range up to 12 metres (39 ft) high, and ditches. In addition to the Iron Age hill fort, the site was occupied during the Mesolithic Period, the Neolithic Period, and the Bronze Age. The site has also been damaged by quarrying.[116][118]

Highbury Hill Iron Age Clutton
51°19′10″N 2°31′27″W / 51.3194°N 2.5243°W / 51.3194; -2.5243 (Berwick)

On Highbury Hill lies the earthwork remains of an Iron Age univallate hill fort. It occupies an area of woodland at the end of a narrow ridge.[119]

Horse Pool Camp
Harbury
Hamberry
Whitestaunton Camp
Iron Age 1018636[120] Whitestaunton
50°52′35″N 3°02′43″W / 50.8763°N 3.0453°W / 50.8763; -3.0453 (Horse Pool Camp)

Oval univallate hillfort 300 m long and 150 m wide.[121][122]

Kenwalch's Castle Iron Age 1008257[123] Kenwalchs Castle Somerset Map.jpg Penselwood
51°06′02″N 2°21′43″W / 51.1006°N 2.3619°W / 51.1006; -2.3619 (Kenwalch's Castle)

Kenwalch's Castle is an Iron Age hill fort. The latter has an area of 1.6 hectares (4.0 acres). There is a single rampart and ditch which are well preserved in places. The road north from Penselwood village crosses the hill fort and probably passes through the original entrances.[124][125]

King's Castle Iron Age 1008807[126] Wells
51°12′30″N 2°37′09″W / 51.2084°N 2.6191°W / 51.2084; -2.6191 (King's Castle)

King's Castle is the remains of an Iron Age settlement and field system.[127][128]

King's Castle hill fort
Castle Hill hill fort
Iron Age 1016498[129] Kings Castle Somerset Map.jpg Wiveliscombe
51°02′46″N 3°17′22″W / 51.0460°N 3.2895°W / 51.0460; -3.2895 (King's Castle Hillfort)

King's Castle hill fort is guarded by two banks and a ditch. The interior bank is from 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) to 6 metres (20 ft) high and around 14 metres (46 ft) thick. Several Neolithic artefacts have also been found on the site.[130][131]

Kingsdown Camp Iron Age 1006219[132] Buckland Dinham
51°15′51″N 2°24′12″W / 51.2642°N 2.4034°W / 51.2642; -2.4034 (Kingsdown Camp)

Kingsdown Camp is a univallate hill fort with an area of .15 hectares (0.37 acres), and is approximately quadrilateral in shape. In the Iron Age or Roman period a drystone wall was constructed, possibly 4 metres (13 ft) high and 2.5 metres (8 ft) wide. There is an entrance on the northeast side. The fort continued to be used by the Romans.[133][134]

Maesbury Castle Iron Age 1015494[135] Maesbury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Croscombe
51°13′22″N 2°33′35″W / 51.2227°N 2.5598°W / 51.2227; -2.5598 (Maesbury Castle)

The Maesbury Castle hill fort is a bivallate hill fort with a bank around 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) to 3 metres (9.8 ft) high enclosing an area of around 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres). A second bank around 30 centimetres (0.98 ft) high exists on the southeastern side.[136][137]

Maes Knoll
Maes Trump
Iron Age 1005424[138] Maes Knoll Somerset Map.jpg Norton Malreward
51°23′30″N 2°34′35″W / 51.3916°N 2.5763°W / 51.3916; -2.5763 (Maes Knoll)

Maes Knoll hill fort is roughly triangular, and encloses an area of 8 hectares (20 acres).[139][140]

Meare Lake Village Iron Age 1006160[141] Meare
51°10′34″N 2°47′40″W / 51.1760°N 2.7944°W / 51.1760; -2.7944 (Meare Lake Village)

Archaeologists uncovered several hearths in the buried ruins of one of the houses at the Iron Age Meare Lake Village, which was located within the now-drained Meare Pool. They also found several lias stones lying around the fire, including one vertical stone which may have been a backrest. The archaeologists also found several artefacts, including cut pieces of red deer antler, pieces of iron, the rim of a bronze bowl, a spiral finger ring made from bronze, and a decorated amber bead.[142][143][144][145]

Mounsey Castle Iron Age 1021357[146] Mounsey Castle Somerset Map.jpg Dulverton
51°03′14″N 3°35′32″W / 51.0540°N 3.5922°W / 51.0540; -3.5922 (Mounsey Castle)

An irregular triangular earthwork of 1.75 hectares (4.3 acres) surrounded by the remains of coursed stone walling, with an entrance to the west.[147][148] Overlooking the River Barle.[149]

Norton Camp
Norton Fitzwarren hill fort
Stone Age
Bronze Age
1008467[150] Norton Camp Somerset Map.jpg Norton Fitzwarren
51°01′49″N 3°08′52″W / 51.0304°N 3.1479°W / 51.0304; -3.1479 (Norton Fitzwarren Hillfort)

The Norton Fitzwarren hill fort is part of the "Norton Hillfort Local Nature Reserve" and originally was occupied during the Stone Age[151] and into the Bronze Age.[152][153]

Oldberry Castle
Oldbury Castle
Iron Age 1006168[154] Oldberry Castle Somerset Map.jpg Dulverton
51°02′34″N 3°33′26″W / 51.0428°N 3.5572°W / 51.0428; -3.5572 (Oldberry Castle)

Oldberry Castle is an irregular oval shape measuring 220 metres (720 ft) by 91 metres (299 ft). It is defended by a bank measuring 3 metres (9.8 ft) wide and 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) high, and a 5.5 metres (18 ft) wide ditch.[155][156]

Plainsfield Camp Iron Age 1007669[157] Park Plantation Somerset Map.jpg Aisholt
51°07′09″N 3°10′07″W / 51.1192°N 3.1687°W / 51.1192; -3.1687 (Plainsfield Camp)

Plainsfield Camp is a possible Iron Age univallate settlement that is shaped like a rhombus. It is around 160 metres (540 ft) by 140 metres (450 ft), enclosing an approximate area of .1 hectares (1,000 m2), with a single bank around 3.0 metres (10 ft) high.[158][159]

Road Castle Iron Age 1021360[160] Winsford
51°07′34″N 3°37′35″W / 51.1261°N 3.6264°W / 51.1261; -3.6264 (Road Castle)

It is likely that the bank and ditch defined enclosure at this site is of Iron Age date.[161]

Roddenbury hill fort Iron Age 1008804[162] Roddenbury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Selwood
51°11′40″N 2°17′23″W / 51.1944°N 2.2897°W / 51.1944; -2.2897 (Roddenbury Hillfort)

Roddenbury hill fort is a large, univallate hill fort enclosing .84 hectares (2.1 acres).[163][164]

Rodhuish Common Iron Age 1021122[165] Withycombe
51°08′37″N 3°25′56″W / 51.1435°N 3.4323°W / 51.1435; -3.4323 (Rodhuish Common)

On Rodhuish Common is a small oval enclosure which is thought to be of Iron Age date.[166]

Ruborough Camp
Rowberrow
Rowborough
Roborough Money Field
Iron Age 1007670[167] Ruborough Camp Somerset Map.jpg Broomfield
51°05′44″N 3°06′14″W / 51.0956°N 3.1038°W / 51.0956; -3.1038 (Ruborough Camp)

The Ruborough Camp hill fort is on an easterly spur from the main Quantock ridge, with steep natural slopes to the north and south-east. The fort is triangular in shape, with a single rampart and ditch (univallate), enclosing 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres). There is a linear outer work about 120 metres (390 ft) away, parallel to the westerly rampart, enclosing another 1.8 hectares (4.4 acres). There was a subterranean tunnel, which has now been filed in, which gave the camp safe access to a nearby spring for water.[168][169][170]

Sigwells Bronze Age
Iron Age
Charlton Horethorne
51°00′43″N 2°30′25″W / 51.012°N 2.507°W / 51.012; -2.507 (Sigwells)

Sigwells Camp overlooks Cadbury Castle. It was the target of research by the South Cadbury Environs Project,[171] which produced significant Early Bronze Age and Middle and Late Iron Age archaeology. Of national importance was the identification of the earliest known metalworking building in Britain, dated to Middle Bronze Age (12th century BC).[172][173]

Small Down Knoll
Small Down Camp
Bronze Age 1006175[174] Small Down Camp Somerset Map.jpg Evercreech
51°09′53″N 2°28′44″W / 51.1646°N 2.4790°W / 51.1646; -2.4790 (Small Down Camp)

Small Down Camp is a multivallate hill fort enclosing 2 hectares (4.9 acres). There is also a group of around 14 barrows within the walls of the camp. Multiple walls and a ditch defend the site, but the walls are crumbling and the ditch has been filled up.[175][176]

Solsbury Hill
Little Solsbury Hill
Iron Age 1002481[177] Solisbury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Batheaston
51°24′36″N 2°20′03″W / 51.4100°N 2.3342°W / 51.4100; -2.3342 (Solsbury Hill)

Occupied between 300 BC and 100 BC, comprising a triangular area enclosed by a single univallate rampart, faced inside and out with well-built dry stone walls and infilled with rubble. The rampart was 6 metres (20 ft) wide and the outer face was at least 4 metres (13 ft) high. The top of the hill was cleared down to the bedrock, then substantial huts were built with wattle and daub on a timber-frame. After a period of occupation, some of the huts were burnt down, the rampart was overthrown, and the site was abandoned, never to be reoccupied. This event is probably part of the Belgic invasion of Britain in the early part of the 1st century BC.[178]

Stantonbury Camp Iron Age 1002487[179] Stantonbury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Marksbury
51°22′19″N 2°28′18″W / 51.3719°N 2.4718°W / 51.3719; -2.4718 (Stantonbury Camp)

Stantonbury Camp is an Iron Age hill fort close to Wansdyke.[180] On the English Heritage Heritage at Risk Register.[181][182]

Stokeleigh Camp Iron Age 1008113[183] Stokeleigh Camp in Leigh Woods.jpg Leigh Woods
51°27′25″N 2°38′10″W / 51.4570°N 2.6361°W / 51.4570; -2.6361 (Stokeleigh Camp)

Evidence shows that Stokeleigh Camp in Leigh Woods was a key site in the defence of the Avon Gorge.[184] It is situated on a promontory.[185]

Sweetworthy Iron Age 1008470[186] Luccombe
51°10′15″N 3°35′21″W / 51.1709°N 3.5891°W / 51.1709; -3.5891 (Sweetworthy)

Sweetworthy is an Iron Age hill fort or enclosure on the north-facing slope of Dunkery Hill. It has a single rampart and external ditch, enclosing 0.25 hectares (0.62 acres). The rampart is still visible and the ditch on the east side is used as a trackway.[187][188]

Taps Combe Camp
Chelvey Batch Settlement
Iron Age 1007909[189] Chelvey
51°23′59″N 2°44′56″W / 51.3996°N 2.7489°W / 51.3996; -2.7489 (Taps Combe Camp)

Taps Combe Camp is a Roman, Iron Age univallate hill fort in Chelvey. It is "D"-shaped, and is approximately 50 metres (160 ft) by 50 metres (160 ft).[15][190][191]

Tedbury Camp Iron Age 1006163[192] Tedbury Woodbury Somerset Map.jpg Great Elm
51°14′16″N 2°22′05″W / 51.2378°N 2.3681°W / 51.2378; -2.3681 (Tedbury Camp)

Tedbury Camp is a multivallate promontory hill fort defended by two parallel banks. The inner bank measuring 1.3 metres (4.3 ft) wide and standing 3 metres (9.8 ft) to 4.5 metres (15 ft) high. There may have been a third bank. Also the site of Roman occupation and a coin hoard.[193][194]

Trendle Ring Iron Age 1008249[195] Trendle Ring Somerset Map.jpg Bicknoller
51°08′49″N 3°15′44″W / 51.1470°N 3.2623°W / 51.1470; -3.2623 (Trendle Ring)

Trendle Ring is a univallate hill fort shaped like a rounded quadrilateral, enclosing around .7 hectares (1.7 acres). It is enclosed by a ring of stones up to around 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) high and still further by a ditch.[196][197]

Tunley Camp Iron Age 1004525[198] Camerton
51°19′51″N 2°27′22″W / 51.3309°N 2.4561°W / 51.3309; -2.4561 (Berwick)

Tunley Camp comprises the slight earthwork remains of a univallate Iron Age hill fort, which is now nearly ploughed down.[199]

Wadbury Camp Iron Age 1006162[200] Mells
51°14′21″N 2°22′49″W / 51.2391°N 2.3803°W / 51.2391; -2.3803 (Wadbury Camp)

A promontory fort or univallate hillfort with earthwork remains.[201] The bank in places is up to 16 feet (4.9 m) high. Other parts have been almost completely destroyed.[202]

Wain's Hill Iron Age 1007908[203] Wain's Hill - geograph.org.uk - 671543.jpg Clevedon
51°25′54″N 2°52′41″W / 51.4317°N 2.8781°W / 51.4317; -2.8781 (Berwick)

Wain's Hill is an Iron Age promontory bivallate hill fort visible as linear earthwork banks and ditches. It lies on a triangular spit of land on Wain's Hill in west Clevedon, and the hill fort is defined by steep natural slopes to the south, north, and west, and by two ramparts to the east.[204]

Walton Common banjo enclosure Iron Age 1007917[205] Walton in Gordano
51°27′35″N 2°49′26″W / 51.4597°N 2.8240°W / 51.4597; -2.8240 (Walton Banjo)

A banjo enclosure believed to date from the late Iron Age.[206]

Westbury Camp Iron Age 1015500[207] Rodney Stoke
51°15′25″N 2°43′46″W / 51.2570°N 2.7294°W / 51.2570; -2.7294 (Westbury Camp)

Westbury Camp is a large, irregularly-shaped hill fort surrounded by a bank and ditch covering approximately 2.3 hectares (5.7 acres).[208][209]

Worlebury Camp Iron Age 1011260[210] Worlebury Camp Somerset Map.jpg Worlebury Hill
51°21′27″N 2°59′07″W / 51.3574°N 2.9852°W / 51.3574; -2.9852 (Worlebury Camp)

Worlebury Camp is an Iron Age hill fort that was designed for defence, as is evidenced by the number of walls and ditches around the site. Archaeologists have found several large triangular platforms around the sides of the fort, lower down on the hillside. They have found nearly one hundred storage pits of various sizes cut into the bedrock, and many of these had human remains, coins, and other artefacts in them.[211] However, in more recent times, the fort has suffered damage and been threatened with complete destruction on multiple occasions.[8][212][213]

Wraxall Camp Iron Age 1018267[214] Failand
51°26′40″N 2°41′29″W / 51.4444°N 2.6913°W / 51.4444; -2.6913 (Wraxall Camp)

This site, situated on level ground within an upland area of carboniferous limestone was an Iron Age defended settlement.[215]

Suspected hill forts and settlements[edit]

List of suspected hill forts and ancient settlements in Somerset
Site name
Alternative name(s)
Age National Heritage List for England number Plan Location Description
Berwick Iron Age Bath
51°21′41″N 2°22′27″W / 51.3615°N 2.3742°W / 51.3615; -2.3742 (Berwick)

Berwick is a possible multivallate Iron Age hill fort that has since been destroyed. A "camp" called Berwick, Berewyke, or Berewyck, adjoining Cottage Crescent and near Barrack Farm, was described in the early 19th century.[216]

Charterhouse Camp Neolithic
Bronze Age
1006195[217] Charterhouse Camp Somerset Map.jpg Charterhouse
51°17′55″N 2°43′20″W / 51.2986°N 2.7221°W / 51.2986; -2.7221 (Charterhouse Camp)

There is evidence, in the form of burials in local caves, of human occupation since the late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age.[50]

Daw's Castle Iron Age 1020882[218] Daws Castle Somerset Map.jpg Watchet
51°10′52″N 3°20′35″W / 51.1810°N 3.3430°W / 51.1810; -3.3430 (Daw's Castle)

The Daw's Castle hill fort is situated on a north-facing cliff about 80 m above the sea, on a tapering spur of land bounded by the Washford River to the south, as it flows to the sea at Watchet, about 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east. The ramparts of the fort would have formed a semicircle backing onto the sheer cliffs, but coastal erosion has reduced the size of the enclosure, and later destruction by farming, limekilns, and the B3191 road, have left only about 300 m of ramparts visible today.[219] The fort may be of Iron Age origin, but was (re)built and fortified as a burh by King Alfred, as part of his defense against Viking raids from the Bristol Channel around 878 AD.[220]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]