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HER Number:MDV5628
Name:Burley Wood Hillfort, Bridestowe

Summary

Burley Wood Iron Age hillfort consisting of a roughly oval enclosure with multiple defences to the south and situated on a prominent ridge. It was possibly constructed in two phases. Earthworks of the hillfort are shown on the First Edition Ordnance Survey map and are on aerial photographs of 1946 onwards and on digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2016.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 495 873
Map Sheet:SX48NE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishBridestowe
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishBRIDESTOWE

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 438070
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX48NE/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 72
  • Old SAM Ref: 30350
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX48NE2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Camp (Remains of)' shown on 19th century map as an oval feature with earthworks to the south.


Baring Gould, S., 1900, A Book of Dartmoor, 104 (Monograph). SDV277387.


Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Camp' with 'Entrenchments' to the south shown on early 20th century map.


Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 616,618 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Other details: Plan.


Ministry of Works, 1923, Burley Wood Hillfort (Schedule Document). SDV343835.

This fort is situated on a steep-sided wooded knoll at the north end of a spur linked by a saddle to the higher Galford Down. It is a work of two periods; the first a univallate enclosure on the knoll with inturned entrance facing south, and two small banks across the saddle: in the second a massive rampart and ditch aligned between stream-heads beyond the saddle formed the outer defence (marked as entrenchment on 6 inch map), and an annexe containing a small "pen" was added to the main enclosure with a simple entrance from the west. The fort is a fine example of the south-western type with multiple enclosures. The condition is good, the early cross banks have been ploughed. The remainder in thick woodland. Re-afforestation should be opposed. Other details: Monument 72.


MacAlpine Woods, R., 1929, List of Scheduled Monuments, Devonshire, 15 (Article in Serial). SDV343833.


Brailsford, J. W., 1938, Excavations at the Promontory Fort near Okehampton Station, 87 (Article in Serial). SDV343832.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950, SX48NE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV343825.

Visited 7th March 1951. Camp and Promontory Fort. The camp still has a strong bank and ditch with an average height of 2-3 metres from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the bank on the scarp. There is also a fairly good bank on the top of the counter-scarp, except on the north side and on the south-east side where there is a small out work adjoining the main work. The height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the counter scarp averages 0.75-1.5 metres. The small work centred SX49608745 has a bank on its scarp, along the southern side, which is about 1.5 metres above the bottom of the surrounding ditch. It also possesses a causewayed entrance which appears to be ancient and not a recent addition. A double bank with intervening ditch SX49518743-SX49658741 runs up into the wood where it is confluent with the ditch surrounding the main earthwork, the linear work has a bank on the scarp which varies in strength considerably, 0.25-1.0 metres. A bank about 1.0 metre in height returns to join the ditch of the small out work adjoining the south side of the camp. A few metres east of this point where the double bank runs into the main ditch there is an entrance into the main work which is slightly inturned. Of the remaining earthworks, described as "intrenchments", the main and most southerly one is over 402 metres in length. It consists of a strong bank on top of the scarp and a ditch which averages 10 metres in width. The ditch is some 2 metres in depth in places and the height from the bottom of the ditch to the top of the bank on the scarp is from 2-2.75 metres with the ground to the north of the bank sloping away naturally towards the other lines of defence. This outer bank and ditch runs from a deep natural gully to the steeply sloping hill side, thus isolating the promontory on which the remaining earthworks stand. From SX49648725 to SX49718728 the inside of the bank has been revetted by a later dry stone wall. At SX49618724 there is a depression almost a metre in depth on the top of the bank which may indicate a former entrance although there is no corresponding break in the counterscarp. The second line of earthworks stands in a pasture field and is fairly well preserved there with a low bank on top of a steep scarp, with the ground sloping down towards it from the first defence line, thus forming a natural counter scarp. The scarp is broken for a short distance near the middle and is then resumed to finish in the wood as the ground starts to slope steeply to the stream below. The next line consists of a much spread bank 0.75 metres in height with the ground sloping away naturally to the north of it. The ground also slopes to the south towards the second defence line and may indicate artificial scarping although it is difficult to be certain of this. The eastern extremity lies in the wood where the broad bank finally merges with the natural slope and becomes impossible to define. Finally a shallow ditch, depth 0.5 metres on the average runs from SX49558736 to SX49728740 again with its eastern extremity on the hillside in the wood. The whole complex is rather difficult to interpret without any excavation. It seems possible that the camp is a south-western Iron Age 'A' plateau camp with later occupation of the area by Iron Age 'B' people who turned the hill into a promontory fort by the constructions of the considerable ditch on the south side. But it is difficult to say whether the other, shorter, linear works and the small out work attached to the main camp are contemporary with Iron Age times or are Early Medieval additions constructed by the people who built the motte and bailey in Burley Wood.
Burley Wood Fort, one of the best and most elaborate of the 'wide spaced defence' type and is of two periods: (1) a promontory fort, small scale, consisting of two lines of intrenchments on the neck, with a broad rise between them that is natural; (2) a Class IV hill-slope fort resembling Wooston with four inclosures, the outermost line is drawn across the rising ground to the south and is much longer than the map shows. The innermost inclosure on the summit of Burley Hill has an inturned entrance and there is no connection with the Norman Motte and Bailey east of it.
The Burley Wood earthworks occupy the north end of a ridge where it is particularly constricted. The most southerly rampart, up to 3.5 metres high has a ditch 2.2 metres deep and cuts across the ridge, not at its narrowest point, but where the natural slopes are steepest. Two breaks in the rampart are probably original entrances.
The second, inner rampart is up to 1.2 metres high, with an outer ditch, but cannot be traced right across the ridge. Its condition suggests that it has been slighted, possibly in antiquity, although a broad gap near the centre is probably an original entrance. Behind these ramparts is a broad natural cross-ridge, (it is not intermediate as described by Lady Fox) which appears to have been scarped along the east half; its purposse within the complex is uncertain.
The main settlement area comprises an irregular oval enclosure of 1.5 hectares, univallate with a counter-scarp bank. The south side appears to have been re-cut and incorporates an inturned entrance. This entrance is approached through a bank and ditch annex with an inturned entrance on its west side. The annex, originally about 0.75 hectares, has a small pound of about 0.25 hectares constructed in the north-east corner and the two are linked by a simple entrance.
Some 30 metres to the south of the annnex is a shallow ditch crossing the promontory from west to east and turning abruptly northwards, where it fades. This is evidently the boundary of the fourth enclosure mentioned by Lady Fox but it seems likely to be a hollow way associated with the Norman motte and double bailey rather than an enclosure feature.


Ministry of Works, 1960, Burley Wood Camp (Schedule Document). SDV343836.

An elaborate hillfort on the summit and south side of a hill that rises 700 feet above sea level. The slope is precipitous on the north side but the camp is joined by a saddle on the south-west to adjoining high ground. The camp consists of 4 enclosures:
(1) Innermost enclosure. Rampart and ditch 74 feet wide. Inturned entrance on the south-west. On north side bank and ditch are slight
(2) A small annexe, east of entrance
(3) Strong bank and ditch across the foot of the hill
(4) Massive bank and ditch 70 feet across. Bank 10 feet high.
Between (3) and (4) there are two lines of much smaller earthworks, perhaps remains of an earlier promontory fort.
A bronze palstave has been found on the site.
The site lies close to Galford Down and is possibly to be identified with Gavulford in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle where in 823 the Britons made their last stand against Egbert and his Saxons.
The neighbouring motte and bailey is scheduled separately. Other details: Monument 72 - Revised.


Department of Environment, 1976, Burley Wood Camp (Correspondence). SDV343824.

Acknowledgement of payment scheme agreed with owner occupier prior to 1976.


Timms, S. C., 1982, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV343830.

Site visit on 26th February 1982 to look at mineral exploration proposals. No detailed inspection carried out as visit restricted to forestry tracks. Site is in two ownerships.


Weston, S., 1982, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV343831.

The site has been inspected twice by the Department of Environment field monument warden, most recently in 1981. The Department of Environment have been operating an acknowledgement payment agreement on the site with the owner, but it is currently managed by Fountain Forestry, and the main enclosure has been replanted with coniferous trees fairly recently.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EG, 1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV343829.


Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EH, 3,4,5,5a (Aerial Photograph). SDV343828.


Richardson, P. H. G., 1992, The Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley after 1913, 138 (Article in Serial). SDV323598.


Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon, 24 (Monograph). SDV7958.


Environment Agency WMS, 1998-2016, LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution), LIDAR WMS Environment Agency DTM viewed 04-DEC-2017 (Cartographic). SDV360208.

A series of earthwork banks and ditches are visible.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1999, Motte With Two Baileys and a Multivallate Hillfort at Burley Wood (Schedule Document). SDV343827.

This monument includes a motte with two baileys and an Iron Age hillfort with multiple defences lying juxtaposed on a prominent ridge overlooking the valleys of the River Lew and one of its major tributaries in an area known as Burley Wood. The hillfort consists of a roughly oval enclosure which measures 144 metres long from east to west and 94 metres wide internally. The enclosure is defined by a double rampart and ditch. The outermost ditch is preserved mainly as a buried feature. The outer rampart bank measures up to 9 metres wide and is 1.3 metres high; the inner ditch is up to 7.2 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep; the inner rampart measures up to 6.8 metres wide and 2.2 metres high. On the southern side of the hillfort are a series of irregularly shaped defended enclosures. The first of these is roughly rectangular in shape and the whole is enclosed by a bank which measures up to 3.6 metres wide and 1.2 metres high. This is surrounded by a ditch up to 6.3 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep. To the south east are two roughly circular quarry type depressions the largest of which is up to 10 metres in diameter and 2.2 metres deep. Beyond these lies a further substantial outer bank which surrounds the first enclosure and merges with the outer rampart of the hillfort, then extends to enclose a further area which measures 104 metres long by 42.6 metres wide maximum. The bank itself measures up to 5.3 metres wide and 1.3 metres high internally. Within this enclosure is a clearly defined entrance to the south-west. On this southern side of the hillfort, local topography has necessitated the use of further ramparts and ditches which are not present on any other side of the monument. The first bank has been fossilised within an existing field boundary and measures up to 4.3 metres wide and 1.3 metres high. The ditch for this bank is preserved as a buried feature. Further south and parallel to this bank is the second rampart and ditch. The rampart measures up to 4.2 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. The ditch is up to 4.1 metres wide and 0.3 metres deep. This has been cut at its western end by a farm road. Further south again lies the third rampart which is less obvious and possibly marks the position of a naturally occurring geological feature, since there is no obvious ditch. It measures up to 4 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. Further south again lies a fourth rampart with outer ditch. The rampart measures up to 9.2 metres wide maximum and 1.6 metres high. The ditch measures up to 9.4 metres wide and 0.4 metres deep. This rampart has a central entrance which measures up to 24 metres wide and is slightly in turned. The fifth and outermost rampart lies further south again. This links two naturally steep valley slopes to form a major defensive outer line and thus cut off the promontory. The outer rampart measures up to 4.8 metres wide maximum and 2.5 metres high. The outer ditch measures up to 8.9 metres wide and up to 2 metres deep maximum. This is a long defensive line and has been cut in several places over the years to provide access to fields. Within the upper fill of the ditch a stone built farm building was erected and a well sunk, probably during the 19th century, this building, its track and well are still extant.
The building, now being used as a field barn, and field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included. The well is totally excluded from the scheduling. Other details: Monument 30350.


Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 1999, Proposed Works at Motte With Two Baileys and a Multivallate Hillfort at Burley Wood (Unspecified Type). SDV343826.

Scheduled Monument Consent granted concerning the felling of timber and its removal from site by tractor and trailer.


Young, A., 2005, Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project (Cartographic). SDV321540.

Transcriptions of banks and ditches correspond to the grid reference for PRN167257. Map object partly based on this source.


Young, A. & Turner, S., 2005-2006, North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records, PRN167257 (Interpretation). SDV358473.

This well recorded multiphase hillfort and associated outworks is partially visible, through tree cover, on aerial photographs (p1-3) and was digitally plotted as part of the National Mapping Programme.
Photograph references:
1. RAF 3G/TUD/138/5423&4 11-APR-1946
2. RAF CPE/UK/1995/1388 13-APR-1947
3. NMR NMR SX4987/4 19-APR-1982


English Heritage, 2009, Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West, 119 (Report - non-specific). SDV342694.

Generally satisfactory but with minor localised problems. Principal vulnerability plant growth.


English Heritage, 2010, Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West, 111 (Report - non-specific). SDV344777.


National Monuments Record, 2011, 438070 (National Monuments Record Database). SDV346410.

An Iron Age hillfort with multiple defences lying on a prominent ridge overlooking the valleys of the River Lew and one of its major tributaries in an area known as Burley Wood. The hillfort consists of a roughly oval enclosure which measures 144 metres long from east to west and 94 metres wide internally. The enclosure is defined by a double rampart and ditch. The outermost ditch is preserved mainly as a buried feature. The outer rampart bank measures up to 9 metres wide and is 1.3 metres high; the inner ditch is up to 7.2 metres wide and 0.8 metres deep; the inner rampart measures up to 6.8 metres wide and 2.2 metres high. On the southern side of the hillfort are a series of irregularly shaped defended enclosures enclosed by a bank and ditch. On this souther side of the hillfort, local topography has necessitated the use of further ramparts and ditches which are not present on any other side of the monument.


English Heritage, 2011, Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West, 117 (Report - non-specific). SDV355280.

Generally satisfactory but with significant localised problems. Stable. Principal vulnerability plant growth.


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

'Settlement' shown on modern mapping with a complex series of earthworks. Map object partly based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV277387Monograph: Baring Gould, S.. 1900. A Book of Dartmoor. A Book of Dartmoor. Unknown. 104.
SDV321540Cartographic: Young, A.. 2005. Transcriptions from Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project. Plot of Cropmarks. Digital.
SDV323598Article in Serial: Richardson, P. H. G.. 1992. The Mines of Dartmoor and the Tamar Valley after 1913. British Mining. 44. A5 Paperback. 138.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 616,618.
SDV342694Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2009. Heritage at Risk Register 2009: South West. English Heritage Report. A4 Bound +Digital. 119.
SDV343824Correspondence: Department of Environment. 1976. Burley Wood Camp. Notification to County Planning Officer. Unknown.
SDV343825Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950. SX48NE2. OSAD Card. Card Index + Digital.
SDV343827Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 1999. Motte With Two Baileys and a Multivallate Hillfort at Burley Wood. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV343828Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EH. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3,4,5,5a.
SDV343829Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EG. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1.
SDV343830Personal Comment: Timms, S. C.. 1982.
SDV343831Personal Comment: Weston, S.. 1982.
SDV343832Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1938. Excavations at the Promontory Fort near Okehampton Station. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. III. Part 2. Paperback Volume. 87.
SDV343833Article in Serial: MacAlpine Woods, R.. 1929. List of Scheduled Monuments, Devonshire. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. I. part 1. Paperback Volume. 15.
SDV343835Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1923. Burley Wood Hillfort. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV343836Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1960. Burley Wood Camp. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV344777Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2010. Heritage at Risk Register 2010: South West. English Heritage Report. Digital. 111.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV346410National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2011. 438070. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV355280Report - non-specific: English Heritage. 2011. Heritage at Risk Register 2011: South West. english Heritage. Digital. 117.
SDV358473Interpretation: Young, A. & Turner, S.. 2005-2006. North Devon/Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme (NMP) project database records. Cornwall Council Report. Digital. PRN167257.
SDV360208Cartographic: Environment Agency WMS. 1998-2016. LiDAR DTM data JPEG image (1m resolution). Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR WMS Environment Agency DTM viewed 04-DEC-2017.
SDV7958Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 24.

Associated Monuments

MDV30123Related to: FINDSPOT in the Parish of Bridestowe (Find Spot)
MDV1612Related to: Findspot, Burleigh Wood Camp, Bridestowe (Find Spot)
MDV1613Related to: Motte and Baileys in Burley Wood, Bridestowe (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7455 - Winkleigh Biomass Plant National Mapping Programme

Date Last Edited:Dec 4 2017 10:41AM