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HER Number:MDV11975
Name:Hillfort south of Halsdon House, Dolton


Earthwork remains of a hillfort on the hilltop overlooking the River Taw to the south of Halsdon House. Encompasses a field called Berry Hill on the 19th century Tithe Apportionment, the name indicative of a defended site.


Grid Reference:SS 558 124
Map Sheet:SS51SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishDolton
Ecclesiastical ParishDOLTON

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Iron Age hillfort south of Halsdon

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS51SE/28
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Early Iron Age to Saxon - 700 BC (Between) to 1065 AD (Between))

Full description

South West Heritage Trust, 1838-1848, Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments (Cartographic). SDV359954.

Field named as Berry Hill (Plot 22) on the Dolton Tithe Apportionment. The name possibly derives from the Old England, burh, meaning a defended site.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/3G/TUD/159 (Aerial Photograph). SDV464.

Earthwork visible across field on western side of hillfort.

Cambridge University, 1975, CUC/BTR, 43 (Aerial Photograph). SDV274730.

Timms, S. C., 1980, Hill Fort (Worksheet). SDV340778.

Earthwork remains of a hill fort on a hill top to the south of Halsdon House, to the east of the River Torridge. The site is lies in pasture and woodland. A 'Berry' fieldname is recorded on the Dolton Tithe Map of circa 1840.
The line of the defences can be traced along the field boundary, though the woods on the southern side and across the field on the north and west sides. They have not been traced on the east side and may have been affected by the construction of the road which skirts the hilltop here.
The defences are best-preserved on the south and south-east side where they consist of an inner bank, a ditch and an outer bank. The inner bank forms the field boundary and is up to 1.0m high above field level. The ditch is some 3.0-4.5m below the top of the inner bank and the outer bank is substantial.
The trackways on the south-east and north-west may not be original

Michelmore Hughes + Strutt + Parker, 1982, Halsdon House, Devon (Pamphlet). SDV466.

The paddock to the south of the house and garden is believed to be the site of a hillfort and also possibly the holy stone, from which the name, 'Halsdon' is suggested to derive.

Griffiths, F. M. + Quinnell, H., 1983, Halsdon Hillfort (Site Visit). SDV467.

Site visit 5th June 1983. The outer bank and ditch fade out or end on the western side towards the wood as the slope steepens. They are still excellently preserved in the wood. The wood is now owned by the Devon Trust and so the earthworks will be preserved, with clearance of the rhododendrons. The rest remains under ornamental parkland (created mid 19th century), which was ploughed in the last war. According to a former inhabitant of Halsdon, the road to the east was built in the 1830s.

Griffith, F. M., 1988, Halsdon Hillfort (Site Visit). SDV468.

Site visit 31st July 1988. Condition as recorded previously. The open field remains under pasture, while undergrowth clearance in the wood shows the bank, ditch and counterscarp bank to be in excellent condition. An additional entrance in the wood has been reported by N. V. Quinnell (pers comm).

GetMapping, 1999 - 2000, Millennium Map 1999-2000 Getmapping (Aerial Photograph). SDV321648.

Visible on aerial photograph.

Environment Agency WMS, 2021, Environment Agency LIDAR Composite DTM 2020 - 1m (Cartographic). SDV364513.

Earthworks clearly visible on LiDAR imagery.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV274730Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1975. CUC/BTR. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper) + Digital (Scan). 43.
SDV321648Aerial Photograph: GetMapping. 1999 - 2000. Millennium Map 1999-2000 Getmapping. Millennium Map. Photograph (Digital).
SDV340778Worksheet: Timms, S. C.. 1980. Hill Fort. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV359954Cartographic: South West Heritage Trust. 1838-1848. Digitised Tithe Maps and Transcribed Apportionments. Tithe Map and Apportionment. Digital.
SDV364513Cartographic: Environment Agency WMS. 2021. Environment Agency LIDAR Composite DTM 2020 - 1m. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. [Mapped feature: #139308 ]
SDV464Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/3G/TUD/159. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
SDV466Pamphlet: Michelmore Hughes + Strutt + Parker. 1982. Halsdon House, Devon. Sale Particulars. Digital.
SDV467Site Visit: Griffiths, F. M. + Quinnell, H.. 1983. Halsdon Hillfort. Not Applicable.
SDV468Site Visit: Griffith, F. M.. 1988. Halsdon Hillfort. Not Applicable.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Oct 5 2022 3:40PM