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Myrtleberry North

Hob Uid: 35179
Location :
Devon
North Devon
Lynton and Lynmouth
Grid Ref : SS7428048750
Summary : The earthwork remains of an Iron Age multiple enclosure fort known as Myrtleberry North Camp.
More information : (SS 743487) Earthworks shown but not described. (1)

Known as Myrtleberry North, this is a univallate hillslope enclosure of about 1 acre, with entrance on its west side.
There is an outwork about 160 paces south-west, with a probably original entrance traversed by an existing footpath (2).
Whybrow suggests the outwork and enclosure comprise a multivallate Hillfort (3).

An Iron Age hillslope enclosure (not a multivallate hillfort (3)) occupying a fairly level position at a spur end is bounded on three sides by precipitous slopes. The fourth side comprises a univallate work with a central causewayed ditch which probably represents the entrance; although there is a cut on the north west side of the inner work, the origin of which is not clear.

A supplementary univallate 'cross ridge' work 150.0 metres to the south west with a simple causewayed entrance is presumably coeval.
Resurveyed at 1:2500. (4)

SS 74284877. A settlement consisting of an oval enclosure and associated cross-ridge earthwork probably of Iron Age origin. The site is a scheduled Ancient Monument: the enclosure Devon No.709A and the cross-ridge earthwork Devon No.709B. (5)

The settlement, some 1.45 ha in area, occupies the top of a steep-sided promontory about 185m above OD surrounded by the deciduous Myrtleberry Wood. The promontory, or spur, some 300m long and 50-100m wide, projects north-eastwards overlooking a U-bend in the East Lyn River and it is enclosed by slopes on all sides except the south-west. The gently sloping summit area is covered by rough grass and bracken with scattered scrub. (6)

ENCLOSURE (SS 74334833)
The enclosure, is situated at the north-east end of the spur. Its western side is formed by an earth and stone rampart, 4.2m wide, which rises some 1.4m above the bottom of an outer ditch. The rampart is topped by an earth and stone bank, 3m wide and 0.6m high, formed from the ditch spoil. The ditch is 4.8m wide with outer scarp 1.0m high and slight traces of an outer bank. On the northern side the earthworks are similar though less well defined. Along the east and south-east the steep natural slopes, probably emphazised by deliberate scarping, form its boundary. The simple entrance, about 3m wide, is in the north-west where there is a slight causeway over the ditch.
The enclosure has been mutilated by several prospecting trial pits (costeans) and their associated spoil heaps which were excavated in the search for iron in the late 19th century (SS 74 NW 27). To the immediate east of the entrance one of these pits occupies the ditch, with its spoil heap obscuring the top of the rampart. There is a smaller pit internally to its immediate east. Another elongated pit has been excavated just outside the entrance causeway. Spoil from these pits overlying the earthworks has probable led to the erroneous interpretation of the entrance as `overlapping' by some authorities. At the southern end of the earthwork a third pit, 2m deep, is quarried into the ditch bottom and the spoil dumped on its northern side has completely infilled a section of the ditch causing Whybrow (3) to confuse it as an entrance.
Internally the enclosure measures about 74m N/S by 40m, an area of some 0.28 ha. The interior slopes gently down to the north and appears to have been partly sub-divided by a curving scarp, about 2m high. This scarp, which could be natural, cuts across the southern third of the enclosed area forming a platform about 30m N/S by 25m internally which is open at the north-west end. Levelled into the slope at the north-east side of this open end are the faint turf-covered footings of a rectangular structure, about 7.5m NW/SE by 3.5m. There is no apparent entrance and the feature appears to be a later structure.
Due east, abutting the inside of the main bank, are two short lengths of turf-covered stony banks, 1.5m wide and 0.5m high at best. There is a similar internal feature, 12m or more long, some 7m south of the entrance. These may be contemporary with the rectangular structure as they appear to be constructed on top of the bnak. apart from this the interior appears featureless apart from an old footpath, now disused, which crosses the site from the NNE to the SSW.

CROSS-RIDGE EARTHWORK (SS 74224868)
Some 150m south-west of the enclosure cutting across the widening southern summit of the promontory is an outwork in the form of a cross-ridge earthwork oriented NW/SE amd some 82m in length. It is formed by a ditch, 10.5m wide and 1.4m deep, with inner stony bank, 5.5m wide and up to 1.2m high.
The near central entrance shown on the Ordnance Survey map is probably a modern break for the footpath. The original entrance appears to have been at the extreme north-west end where, unlike the south-east end which terminates at the top of the steep wooded slopes, the earthwork terminates some distance before reaching the top of the steep natural slopes leaving a substantial gap. Outside this entrance are the remains of a linear trial pit for iron (contemporary with those defacing the main enclosure to the south) which has disturbed the ditch and encroached on the earthwork. Set into the slope behind the bank topping the rampart is a small circular platform, about 3m in diameter and 1m high, which overlooks the entrance and may be an original feature. (6)
It seems likely that the access to the settlement was along a hollow-way which approaches the outworks from the south, runs across the spur 22m-29m south of the ramparts and swings round northwards through this gap and into the internal area where a terrace, 3m wide and some 40m or so long, is flanked by a scarp on its north-west side. The route then continued along the top of the western slopes to the enclosure entrance at its north-west angle.

The vegetation in the area between the outwork and the enclosure has recently been cleared by the National Trust. There are no traces of any other features or the "band of slightly different vegetation" seen by Griffith and thought to hint at a possible second cross-dyke. (7)

There appears to be no reason to doubt that the cross-ridge earthwork is not an integral part of the settlement and that the whole is a contemporary work of one period, probably the Iron Age.

*Note: The settlement is not named on the Ordnance Survey plans however the woods, etc from which it takes its name are spelt "Myrtlberry", so the spelling "Myrtlebury", quoted in authorities (5) & (6), would appear to be incorrect. (5-9)

1:2500 Survey revised. (10)

SS 74294876. Remains of late prehistoric multiple enclosure fort. The site comprises an inner enclosure defined partly by a bank and ditch and partly by scarping, and an outer, larger enclosure defined by the natural breaks of slope coupled with a bank and ditch. Scheduling amended. (14)

The earthwork remains of the probably Iron Age hilltop enclosure known as Myrtleberry North can be seen as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. They have been transcribed as accurately as possible as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme survey. (15)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1962
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Source Number : 2
Source : The archaeology of Exmoor : Bideford Bay to Bridgwater
Source details :
Page(s) : 83
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Source Number : 11
Source : Myrtleberry North settlement/ink survey
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Source Number : 12
Source : Myrtleberry/ink survey
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Source Number : 13
Source : Myrtleberry/pencil survey
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Source Number : 14
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : EH Scheduling amendment, 16-OCT-2002
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Source Number : 15
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4046-7 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 3
Source : Devon Archaeological Society proceedings
Source details : plan 8 (C Whybrow)
Page(s) : 9
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Vol(s) : 25, 1967
Source Number : 4
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 MJF 07-NOV-73
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Source Number : 5
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : DOE 1987 Department of the Enviroment County List of Scheduled Ancient Monuments : Devon 18, County No:709.
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Source Number : 6
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1976 1:2500 Sheet SS 7448.
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Source Number : 7
Source : Oral information, correspondence (not archived) or staff comments
Source details : Griffith, F.M. 11-Mar-1989 Devon County SMR SS74NW 4 & 4:1.
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Source Number : 8
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1888 1:2500 Devon Sheet 3:14.
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Source Number : 9
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : Ordnance Survey 1904 1:2500 Devon Sheet 3:14.
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Source Number : 10
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Sainsbury, I 13-Jun-1994 RCHME Field Investigation
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date :
Monument Start Date :
Monument Type : Multiple Enclosure Fort, Hilltop Enclosure, Enclosed Settlement
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SS74NW4
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 709A
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : DV 709B
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 33054
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 687
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : 5345
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : HER Number (Exmoor National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : MDE1247
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 NW 14
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 35182
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SS 74 NW 14
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1973-11-07
End Date : 1973-11-07
Associated Activities : Primary, RCHME: WEST EXMOOR PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 1993-01-01
End Date : 1996-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01