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HER Number:MDV2366
Name:Roborough Down Camp, 180 metres north-east of Higher Lodge


Roborough Down Camp is an irregular circular earthwork of possible prehistoric date. This site is on the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.


Grid Reference:SX 505 641
Map Sheet:SX56SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishBuckland Monachorum
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBUCKLAND MONACHORUM

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Roborough Down Camp 180 metres north-east of Higher Lodge; an irregular circular earthwork of possible prehistoric date

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 439548
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SW/2
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSURE (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Woollcombe, H., 1839-1850, Woollcombe Manuscript (Un-published). SDV16214.

Irregular circular enclosure of one ditch and rampart (used as a hedge bank). Plan (no scale) in manuscript. Other details: --/05/1839.

Syme Saunders, E. G., 1934, Roborough Earthwork, South Devon, 323-6 (Article in Serial). SDV236355.

Site has been seriously damaged by tanks (undated). Other details: plate 17-18 Figure 1-2.

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1190 3216 (Aerial Photograph). SDV250271.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1951 - 1952, SX56SW11 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV250264.

Early Iron Age Camp. Position plotted by G. W. Ridyard on 04/12/1952. Earthwork surveyed onto 1/25000 field document on 25/06/1952.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Recorded during the Aerial Photograph Project.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV250273.

The whole area of the site is now very overgrown with gorse and heather, and the north side of the outer earthwork has been much disturbed by ?quarrying. The rest of the site appears to be in a stable condition. A very curious site, lying on level ground with good views. It seems very improbable that this is a prehistoric site, either in terms of present state of earthworks or of morphology. Visited on 06/05/1986.

Morris, M., 1993, Untitled Source (Site Visit). SDV250274.

The earthworks can now only be distinguished in parts as most of area is covered with gorse and heather. Inside the inner enclosure are two irregularly shaped depressions. It was not possible to take measurements during this visit (26/08/1993) because of vegetation.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.

National Monuments Record, 2010, 439548 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV345663.

The camp is formed of concentric circular earthworks; there is no evidence of any stone being used. The outer bank is 100 yards in diameter, the smaller one, or Keep, 100 feet across. To the south the inner bank is still further protected by a sickle-shaped breastwork or agger. The camp is approached by two embanked ways, one from the main road, the other going north east from the camp, crossing both the Buckland road and the main Plymouth-Tavistock road, and can be traced to the south-eastern end of the golf links. The inner bank has been heavily planted with hawthorns and may well have been used as a pound for stray animals. There is also a small secondary earthwork (SX 56 SW 27), 50 feet in diameter, across the road opposite the banked trench, and a long embankment. The camp was almost certainly used as a beacon; on Spry's 16th century map of Plymouth Leat it is marked as Rowben Beacon.
The air photograph shows Saunders' map to be conventionalised. The inner enclosure, "The Keep", is not concentric with the outer rampart but lies to the east of its centre: within it appears to be two small circular enclosures with a rectangular enclosure against their north-west sides. The "breastwork" appears to be earlier than the outer rampart and to have extended, formerly, to the west where there is a trace of a low bank. The "embanked trench" does not appear to extend beyond the road at SX 50676421.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Sources / Further Reading

  • Un-published: Woollcombe, H.. 1839-1850. Woollcombe Manuscript. Manuscript.
  • Article in Serial: Syme Saunders, E. G.. 1934. Roborough Earthwork, South Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 66. A5 Comb Bound. 323-6.
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1951 - 1952. SX56SW11. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
  • Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1190 3216. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper).
  • Report - Survey: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. Devon County Council Report. Unknown.
  • Site Visit: Morris, M.. 1993. Worksheet. Worksheet.
  • Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
  • Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #84116 ]
  • Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
  • National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. 439548. National Monuments Record Database. Website.

Associated Monuments

MDV12901Related to: Enclosure on Roborough Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 17 2014 11:09AM