Uffington Castle

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Uffington Castle
a concrete triangulation point and steepsided ramparts of close-cropped grass
Ramparts of Uffington Castle at Whitehorse Hill, the highest point in Oxfordshire.
LocationWhitehorse Hill, between Swindon and Wantage. (SU299863)
RegionOxfordshire England
Coordinates51°34′30″N 1°34′09″W / 51.5750587°N 1.5692032°W / 51.5750587; -1.5692032Coordinates: 51°34′30″N 1°34′09″W / 51.5750587°N 1.5692032°W / 51.5750587; -1.5692032
PeriodsIron Age
Site notes
Excavation dates1995
ArchaeologistsDavid Miles, Oxford Archaeological Unit
Conditionsubstantial earthworks
Public accessYes
WebsiteEnglish Heritage
Designated1882 [1]
Reference no.1008412[2]

Uffington Castle is an early Iron Age (with underlying Bronze Age) univallate hillfort in Oxfordshire, England. It covers about 32,000 square metres and is surrounded by two earth banks separated by a ditch with an entrance in the western end. A second entrance in the eastern[3] end was apparently blocked up a few centuries after it was built.[4] The original defensive ditch was V-shaped with a small box rampart in front and a larger one behind it. Timber posts stood on the ramparts. Later the ditch was deepened and the extra material dumped on top of the ramparts to increase their size. A parapet wall of sarsen stones lined the top of the innermost rampart. It is very close to the Uffington White Horse on White Horse Hill.

Uffington White Horse, sketched by William Plenderleath in The White Horses of the West of England (1892)


Excavations have indicated that it was probably built in the 7th or 8th century BC and continued to be occupied throughout the Iron Age. Isolated postholes were found inside the fort but no evidence of buildings. Pottery, loom weights and animal bone finds suggest some form of occupation however. The most activity appears to have been during the Roman period as the artefacts recovered from the upper fills of the ditch attest. The ramparts were remodelled to provide more entrances, and a shrine seems to have been built in the early 4th century AD. Two oblong mounds, one containing 46 Romano-British burials and one containing eight Saxon burials, lie nearby.

The Ridgeway[edit]

An ancient track passes by the northern entrance to the hillfort; it is known as The Ridgeway. It links to the Icknield Way at the Goring Gap, and passes close to Avebury before heading south across Salisbury Plain. It also passes very close to a Neolithic chambered long barrow, Waylands Smithy, about a mile to the west.


The hillfort is a Scheduled Monument,[2] and was included in the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882 as one of the first 68 sites in Britain and Ireland to receive legal protection.[1] Along with the Uffington White Horse on the slopes below the ramparts, it is in the care of English Heritage.[2]


  1. ^ a b Hunter, Robert (1907). "Appendix A" . The Preservation of Places of Interest or Beauty. Manchester University Press – via Wikisource.
  2. ^ a b c Historic England. "Uffington Castle: a univallate hillfort immediately north of the Ridgeway on Whitehorse Hill (1008412)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  3. ^ Miles, D.; Palmer, S.; Lock, G.; Gosden, C.; Cromarty, A. M. (2003). Uffington White Horse and Its Landscape: Investigations at White Horse Hill Uffington, 1989–95, and Tower Hill, Ashbury, 1993–4. Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph. Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology. ISBN 0947816771.
  4. ^ Andrew Payne; Mark Corney; Barry Cunliffe (2006). The Wessex Hillforts Project (pdf). English Heritage - Historic England. ISBN 187359285X. Retrieved 13 April 2018.

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