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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 445576

Hob Uid: 445576
Location :
West Devon
Grid Ref : SX7048086600
Summary : Unfinished hillfort probably overlying the remains of a field system
More information : SX 705866. Hillfort, air photograph. (1)

SX 70508664. Natterdon Common is a knoll of Dartmoor granite
moorland situated at 318m. O.D. and forming the northern end of
a ridge, but separated from it by a saddle to the S. The knoll
shelves gently to the east but presents steep slopes to the
north and west, which overlook the Teign valley and the source
of the River Bovey respectively. The position is naturally
defensive, the only higher ground in the locality being the
granite outcrop on Meldon Hill (387m. O.D), 1km. to the

The Common has about 20m. of flattish summit beyond which there
is moderate shelving for a further 80m; apart from a few
outcropping rocks the ground is unencumbered. Occupying this
area, before the hillside steepens, a double enclosure has been
attempted by means of scarping

Both enclosures are incomplete. The outer, approximately 120m.
by 140m. (1.28ha.), is demarcated by a scarp averaging 2.5m. in
length and from 0.3m. to 1.4m. in height; the inner,
approximately 75m. in diameter (0.4 ha), has a scarp not
exceeding 2.0m. in length and 0.6m. in height. The earthworks
are not concentric, the interspace varying from 28m. in width
on the south to 40m. on the northeast side. Traces of a terrace
exist at the foot of the outer scarp on the south and west but
nowhere is there any perceptible ditch. Unusually, there are no
indications of an entrance, which might have been expected on
the east side where the approach is easiest, and its ist in this
area that the scarping is weakest. The northeast side of the
outer enclosure cannot be traced with any degree of certainty
and it may have been destroyed by a line of costeaning pits.
There, possibly medieval and presumably following a tin lode,
extend down the southwestern hillside for a total of 400m.

On the ground the initial impression is that of agricultural
lynchetting but this is dispelled by reference to the air photo
(a), and the lack of any disturbance to the natural slope or
platform effect that would be created by ploughing. The
earthworks appear to represent the setting out stage of a small
bivallate hill-top fortification.

Though Natterdon is by far the most embryonic, parallels can be
made with Cranbrook Castle (5kms. to the northeast), and
Hunter's Tor (7kms. to the southeast), both not only unfinished
but constructed upon a pre-existing field system. This seems to
be true of Natterdon but the evidence provided by the air
photograph is, for the most part, difficult to translate into
surveyable features on the ground and a reconstruction plan
(q.v.) must incorporate some tennous elements.

The primary divisions consist of lynchets and banks spaced at
intervals of about 40m. contour following on the lower
southwest part of the hill but traversing them on the east side
where the gradient is much less and it is here that the
setting-out scarps appear to have cut across one north to south
bank. The parallel reaves are difficult to find in the bracken
and heather and are mostly less than 0.2m. high. Those on the
southwest are identifiable by cattle walks which follow the
line of the presumed lynchets. Possible sub-divisions are
denoted by two or three fragmentary lynchets though their
irregularity does not conform to a specific pattern.

The present extent of the field system covers, perhaps,
12.0ha., but it must have been extended much further and the
modern field banks forming the east and southwest boundaries of
Natterdon Common are probably based upon pre-historic
alignments. There is a well defined parallel reave system on
the east face of Meldon Hill (SX 697861) and traces of another
on Week Down, 700m. to the east of Natterdon Common (SX 78 NW

Unfinished hillfort and visible field system surveyed at 1:2500
on M.S.D.. (see copy with additions and annotations).

Surveyed at 1:1000 for record purposes, with profiles. (2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source details : Sites & Mons Register Exeter
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Source Number : 1a
Source : Aerial photograph
Source details : AP (NMR/SX 7 86 Dr St JoSEph)
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 30-MAR-82
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Source Number :
Source : Natterdon Common/Antiquity Model
Source details :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Field System, Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 78 NW 41
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 78 NW 40
Start Date : 1982-03-30
End Date : 1982-03-30