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HER Number:MDV5627
Name:Berry Castle Camp

Summary

Berry Castle Camp the remains of an Iron Age hillfort in Huntshaw Wood.

Location

Grid Reference:SS 495 222
Map Sheet:SS42SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishHuntshaw
DistrictTorridge
Ecclesiastical ParishHUNTSHAW

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 33126
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS42SE/7
  • Old SAM County Ref: 75
  • Old SAM Ref: 30301
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS42SE2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Weare Gifford History Society, 05/2014, The Castle in the Wood, Berry Castle, Iron Age Hill Fort, Huntshaw (Report - Survey). SDV356809.

Oxford University are managing a survey project of Hill forts. Local history societies and volunteers are undertaking the surveys.

The hill fort has been under cultivated woodland for perhaps many hundreds of years. Over that time the banks have been broken down due to either re-seeding, planting or felling: and the ditches have become filled with tree debris and undergrowth generally.

A 'modern' forest track or brake has been put through the whole site, from west to east. All previous surveys and research into this site, agree with this conclusion. This track has ploughed through the two banks and ditches at the west and east ends of the fort, destroying both at these two points.

The quarry (or scoop) are likely to be ancient, but could equally be 'modern' quarrying for material for farm dwellings or barns etc..

Within the north-east quadrant, there is small quantity of fence wire and net fencing, which could easily be removed without damage, and with little cost.

The southern bank is very low, and at places quite difficult to locate. It may have been robbed out (farm just 600-700 metres to the south) or was perhaps never finished. Preservation of what remains is essential.

All ditches are 'silting up' with tree debris i.e. branches and leaves, and general undergrowth deposits.

Early May 2014, it was noted in tow locations, one internal and external, that there may possibly have been some metal detecting activity.

The whole of the fort site - interior, banks, ditches and immediate exterior is commercially forested by Clinton Estates.

In the winter storms of January/February 2014 and following the earlier felling of trees right up to the fort, on the south, south-west and north-west sides, this than left the fort exposed. With a south-west facing slope, the trees growing on the actual site became susceptible to wind blow.

Trees previously planted on banks, in ditches or in the interior, have been uprooted, tearing up the banks and ditches, with very large root balls attached. This has left the banks and ditches severely damaged by uprooted trees due to the gale force winds. Any archaeology in these area may have been comprised by the damage.

The findings of this survey reports severe damage affecting the entrance at the north-west corner, with bank and ditches torn up as a result of wind blown trees. This has resulted in a long term management scheme and a group set up, 'Friends of Berry Castle'.


Weare Gifford History Society, 05/2014, The Castle in the Wood, Berry Castle, Iron Age Hill Fort, Huntshaw (Report - Survey). SDV356809.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 597 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Other details: Plan.


Allcroft, A. H., 1908, Earthwork of England, 201-2 (Monograph). SDV11975.

Other details: Plan.


Ministry of Works, 1922, Berry Castle Camp (Schedule Document). SDV338050.

Berry Castle Camp visited on 18th May 1922. Earthwork, in plan a fairly regular parallelogram the length east to west 137 meters (about), width north to south 64.0 meters (about), containing a little under 0.809 hectares. The north side is nearly 6 meters high with a trench on the outer side. The bank appears to be of large stones roughly piled up, however many had been removed for road mending etc. The bank on the south side almost obliterated, east and west sides are well defined. As an average the bank rises 0.9 - 1.2 meters above the level of the camp, is about 6 meters in thickness and has a height above the bottom of the ditch of 2.4 meters. The ditch is 3 meters wide and about 0.9 meters deep below the surrounding level. At the north west angle the bank is better preserved and at this point there is an outer bank, 1.8 meters above the ditch and about 0.9 meters above the surrounding level (recent stone digging). The ground within the enclosure slopes gently from the north east corner to the south west. The altitude of the camp is 91.4 meters and the ground on the south slopes steeply down to the brook which forms the municipal boundary of Great Torrington. Other details: Monument 75.


Radford, A. L., 1923, Second report of the ancient monuments committee (Article in Serial). SDV338057.


Doe, G. M., 1939, Address of the President, 47 (Article in Serial). SDV14615.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953 - 1978, SS42SE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV338052.

An earthwork on a promontory with land falling away to the north and south and rising slightly to the east. South side protected by glacis type bank with no ditch, while remainder of enclosure is defended by a bank with heavy stone content and outer ditch. In the north west corner outer ditch is exceptionally strong and has outer bank. An entrance on the west side. Immediately inside is an oval scraped depression with an outer bank (east). No signs of interior habitation and no surface finds. Camp is in a wood. Other details: Plan and photograph.


Grinsell, L. V., 1970, The Archaeology of Exmoor, 92, 201 (Monograph). SDV1641.


Griffith, F. M. + Silvester, 1983, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV338054.

The site difficult of access in partially cleared plantation. Bank and ditch appear substantially intact. Outer bank in north west still visible.


Griffith, F. M., 1983, Untitled Source (Ground Photograph). SDV338058.

Slide of southeast angle in the possession of F M Griffith.


Griffith, F. M., 1984, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV338051.

Allcroft discusses and illustrates a curious 'blind recess' or false entrance in the defensive bank on the western side. The Ordnance Survey plan of 15th December 1953 appears to show this as the real entrance, treating that immediately to the south, shown by Allcroft, as a mere break in the bank for a forest ride, and the same for the gap in the eastern side.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EI, 4-5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV16239.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1997, Berry Castle Hillfort in Huntshaw Wood (Schedule Document). SDV346409.

The monument includes an Iron Age hillfort which occupies the summit of a high hill overlooking the valleys of Huntshaw Water to the north and Darracott Brook to the south. The site is aligned east-west and is defined by a rampart bank and outer ditch which surround an internal area 118 metres long by 52 metres wide. The rampart bank stands up to 5.3 metres wide by 3.8 metres high and the ditch measures up to 4 metres wide and 2 metres deep. There is a stony outer bank along part of the circuit and this measures up to 3.6 metres wide and 0.6 metreshigh. All fences and fenceposts are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included. Other details: Monument 30301.


Edgcombe, A. C., 1998, Berry Castle Camp (Report - Survey). SDV338056.

Site increasingly overgrown both by the tree crop and by undergrowth, which is believed to be damaging the entrance. The closed feature on the western side interpreted as a 'decoy false entrance' has been heavily damaged by root action and its bank is barely discernible.The additional length of bank outside the northwest angle was recorded. The average height of the rampart today is 3 foot - much lower than that recorded by Victoria County History. The deteriorating condition of the monument is a subject of concern.


Exeter Archaeology, 2004, Archaeological assessment of land adjacent to Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington, 2 (Report - Assessment). SDV338048.

Castle Berry Camp in Huntshaw Wood probably dates from the Iron age.


National Monuments Record, 2011, 33126 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346408.

An Iron Age hillfort which occupies the summit of a high hill overlooking the valleys of Huntshaw Water to the north and Darracott Brook to the south. The site is aligned east-west and is defined by a rampart bank and outer ditch which surround an internal area 118 metres long by 52 metres wide. The rampart bank stands up to 5.3 metres wide by 3.8 metres high and the ditch measures up to 4 metres wide and 2 metres deep. There is a stony outer bank along part of the circuit and this measures up to 3.6 metres wide and 0.6 metres high.


Alimo, A, 2011, Interim Comments on Survey of Berry Castle Camp (Personal Comment). SDV348607.

Interim comments of field survey carried out as part of a University Masters. A photographic and topographic survey with 3D modelling being undertaken. Full report to follow.

Firstly, there are areas on the top of the bank where there are sharp, pointed stones pointing upwards. These are particularly noticeable on the north and west bank.

It was unclear where the western entrance was. One, possibly two stone circular features near the south bank which looked like hearths. They may be modern or stones thrown up by tree roots.

There are two stone covered oval mounds near the western entrance that look like cairns. One was larger than the other.

Finally, there are some stone features beyond the south bank that looked as if they may be defensive outposts.


Alimo, A, 2011, Interim Comments on Survey of Berry Castle Camp (Personal Comment). SDV348607.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

'Berry Castle Settlement' shown on modern mapping.


Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.


RPS Planning & Development, 2013, Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm. Enviornmental Statement Volume 4. Annex 8.2: Desk Based Assessment, 9, 21: Site 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV357386.


Dean, R., 2016, Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV359971.

This report presents the results of an archaeological magnetometer survey at the above site, hereafter referred to as the survey area. It has been prepared for the Friends of Berry Castle as part of an ongoing programme of research and conservation. The survey area location is shown in Figure 1. The survey area includes a Scheduled Monument comprising the bulk of Berry castle and the relevant licence to carry out a geophysical survey was obtained by The Friends of Bury Castle as summarised above. Thirty-three magnetic anomaly groups were mapped as representing possible archaeological deposits or features.

Within Area 1, three anomaly groups representing the extant ramparts were characterised as representing an outer ditch, a stony element of the ramparts on the outer side and an earthen element of the ramparts on the inner side. These three anomaly groups were present on all sides of the monument. The northern-most of two previously identified locations for potential entrances on the western side of the monument is most likely to be a true entrance and not a decoy as originally described in 1906. The magnetic anomaly group representing an earthen element of the ramparts on the inner side at the second proposed western entrance is continuous which implies that this is not an entrance or that the structure of ramparts underwent changes after an entrance was constructed. A third previously identified potential entrance on the eastern side was discounted as the anomaly group representing a stony element of the rampart was continuous at this location. A alternative entrance sited centrally on the eastern side was identified, again with reservations concerning the anomalies
representing an earthen element of the ramparts on the inner side. Within the main body of the monument, potential inner divisions were mapped that mirrored the main ramparts in shape and a potential charcoal production platform was tentatively identified. Two linear anomalies representing potential archaeological deposits were identified in Area 2 but not characterised further. Anomalies representing possible agricultural terraces were identified in Area 3 and on the southern side of Area 1. No conclusions were reached about a previously mapped surface deposit of stones in Area 3. Linear anomaly groups representing stony and earthen deposits were identified in Area 4 that may represent previously recorded earthworks external to the main monument.


Dean, R., 2017, Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge: Geophysical Survey (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV360558.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV11975Monograph: Allcroft, A. H.. 1908. Earthwork of England. Earthwork of England. Unknown. 201-2.
SDV14615Article in Serial: Doe, G. M.. 1939. Address of the President. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 71. A5 Hardback. 47.
SDV16239Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EI. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4-5.
SDV1641Monograph: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. A5 Hardback. 92, 201.
SDV338048Report - Assessment: Exeter Archaeology. 2004. Archaeological assessment of land adjacent to Dartington Crystal, Great Torrington. Exeter Archaeology Report. 04.34. A4 Stapled + Digital. 2.
SDV338050Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1922. Berry Castle Camp. The Schedule of Monuments. Letter.
SDV338051Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1984.
SDV338052Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953 - 1978. SS42SE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV338054Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M. + Silvester. 1983.
SDV338056Report - Survey: Edgcombe, A. C.. 1998. Berry Castle Camp. Report of surveys by Newton Tracey & District History Society. Unknown.
SDV338057Article in Serial: Radford, A. L.. 1923. Second report of the ancient monuments committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 55. A5 Hardback.
SDV338058Ground Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1983. Slide.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 597.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #95518 ]
SDV346408National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 33126. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV346409Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1997. Berry Castle Hillfort in Huntshaw Wood. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV348607Personal Comment: Alimo, A. 2011. Interim Comments on Survey of Berry Castle Camp. A4 Stapled.
SDV356809Report - Survey: Weare Gifford History Society. 05/2014. The Castle in the Wood, Berry Castle, Iron Age Hill Fort, Huntshaw. Weare Gifford History Society. Digital + A4.
SDV357386Report - Assessment: RPS Planning & Development. 2013. Atlantic Array Offshore Wind Farm. Enviornmental Statement Volume 4. Annex 8.2: Desk Based Assessment. RWE Npower Renewables. 6.4.8.2. Digital. 9, 21: Site 5.
SDV359971Report - Geophysical Survey: Dean, R.. 2016. Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge. Substrata. 1603BER-R-1. Digital.
SDV360558Report - Geophysical Survey: Dean, R.. 2017. Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge: Geophysical Survey. Substrata. 1611BER-R-1. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV107284Parent of: Archaeological Feature, 20 metres south-west of Berry Castle (Monument)
MDV118158Parent of: Charcoal Platform, Berry Castle, Huntshaw (Monument)
MDV118159Parent of: Linear Anomalies, Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7166 - Magnetometer Survey, Berry Castle, Huntshaw, Torridge (Ref: 1603BER-R-1)
  • EDV5696 - Field Survey of Berry Castle Camp, Huntshaw Wood
  • EDV6519 - The Castle in the Wood, Berry Castle, Iron Age Hill Fort, Huntshaw

Date Last Edited:Nov 20 2017 1:32PM