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HER Number:MDV634
Name:Berry Castle Hillfort south-west of Black Dog, Woolfardisworthy


Slight univallate hillfort situated just beneath the summit of a ridge, which survives as a 'D' shaped enclosure, defined to the north and west by a rampart and ditch. The ramparts have been integrated into later field boundaries to the south and east.


Grid Reference:SS 801 092
Map Sheet:SS80NW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishWoolfardisworthy (Mid Devon)
DistrictMid Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWOOLFARDISWORTHY

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SS80NW/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 386
  • Old SAM Ref: 34255
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SS80NW 1

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 13/04/1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 3074 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224714.

Other details: HER 20/237.

English Heritage, 13/11/2013, Berry Castle, West Emlett, Black Dog (Correspondence). SDV354628.

Proposed works at the above Scheduled Monuments concerning the ploughing of the field, cultivating, sowing with forage rape, cultivating, cowing with grass seed, and finally rolling.

Secretary of State has agreed that Shceduled Monument Consent should be granted compriding one single instance of cultivation, not exceeding 6" in depth, providing the conditions set out below are adhered to, but that Consent is refused for the remaining items of work proposed in the application.

Ordnance Survey, 1906, 44SW (Cartographic). SDV335774.

'Berry Castle (Camp)' shown

Wall, J. C., 1906, Ancient Earthworks, 613 (Article in Monograph). SDV341465.

Berry Castle is 6 miles north-west of Crediton , situated on ground sloping down towards the west. Near by rises a small stream which flows into the River Dalch. When in a more perfect state this camp was described as circular, containing an area of 2 acres, divided in 2 parts by a bank. Other details: Plan.

Ministry of Works, 1959, Berry Castle (Schedule Document). SDV341461.

Single ramparted enclosure, situated on the south-west slope of upland. Rampart 38 feet overall, 20 feet on scarp, ditch ploughed in but visible in the field. On east and south sides the rampart missing but line showed by the hedgebanks. Entrances probably on both east and west side, marked on east by recurve of rampart, on west by a gap that has been enlarged. Interior under plough. Condition good where existing. Other details: Map.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1969 - 1978, SS80NW1 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV341464.

1. (SS 80160926) Berry Castle (NAT) Fort (NR).
2. Berry Castle (Class C) is situated on ground sloping down towards the west, and consists of a bold agger, 20 feet on the scarp and 12 feet broad at the top, embracing the north and west sides of a camp, and returning some 60 feet towards the east at the southern extremity, where the agger gives place to a natural escarpment. The entrance is at the west, where the southern rampart considerably widens.
3. Berry Castle is a univallate defensive enclosure of which the eastern side and much of the southern side has been entirely destroyed. In the extant part the rampart is up to 1.7 metres high and the outer ditch, much infilled, is 0.6 metre deep. There is a well defined simple causewayed entrance on the west. The earthwork is on slight south facing slope with little natural defence, a feature common to a number of minor hillforts in North Devon and Somerset.
4. Ordnance Survey 1:2500 survey revised. Other details: Plans.

Ordnance Survey, 1973, Untitled Source (Cartographic). SDV341477.

Weston, S., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV343247.

Visited 16/12/1982. Bank very prominent to north and west. Rises to some 3.5 metres. Lane to farm follows east side of enclosure.

Unknown, 1984, Berry Castle (Worksheet). SDV341463.

Date of visit: September 1839. Plan, fair, no scale. Irregular shape, only north and west part remaining, under cultivation. Modern hedge to east. Slopes away steeply to south.

Weston, S., 1985, Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy (Un-published). SDV341479.

Site remains under pasture, banks and field undisturbed.

Weston, S., 1989, Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy (Un-published). SDV341480.

Features and dimensions as previously noted. Hedges recently re-laid.

Unknown, 1996, Berry Castle (Ground Photograph). SDV341481.

Horner, W., 1996, Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy (Un-published). SDV341472.

Visited 18/4/1996. The fort is much as described in previous visits. Under pasture with rampart on north and west sides now fenced on both sides to keep stock off it.
There is a circa 3.5 metres widebreak in the north rampart at circa SS80140933. The rampart has not been levelled in the creation of this and there is still a very pronounced hump to be crossed. The break is clearly in use for stock access and is demarcated by posts. It is not a fresh creation is believed to have been there for at least 17 years. Slight erosion in the bank at either side of the cut indicates an earth and stone construction for the rampart.
This cut does not appear on the Ordnance Survey archaeologists field sketch of 1969, nor is it mentioned in the Field Monument Warden visits of 1982-9. However it would appear to have been created or enhanced in the years 1969-79.
the Royal Air Force aerial photographic coverage of 1947 appears to indicate a slight thinning of the vegetation on the rampart at the point of the cut. However there is no indication of the disturbed ground that might suggest that it was then in regular use as a through-route and there appear to be different land uses on each side of the rampart. It may be that there was an existing scar at this point, possibly caused by stock, that was developed for regular use after 1969.The same aerial photograph also appears to record evidence of the rampart turning in from the lane on the east side of the site. A slight scarp and soil mark is visible on the photo. A slight scarp is still visible on the ground. It is possible that this represents the sub-division bank referred to in the Victioria County History.

Horner, W., 1997, Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy (Personal Comment). SDV341473.

The Tithe Map records the ramparts as a separate field named 'Entrenchment Copse'. There are also a number of 'Banks' and 'Castle' field names around the minument, No change in its condition sinde 1996.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Berry Castle (Schedule Document). SDV341466.

This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated just beneath the summit of a ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary of the River Creedy. It survives as a 'D' shaped enclosure defined to the north and west by a rampart and ditch and having the ramparts integrated into later field boundaries to the south and east. The enclosed area measures up to 125 metres long north to south by up to 95 metres east to west. The whole slopes gently to the south. To the north and west the hillfort is defined by a rampart which measures up to 2.6 metres high internally and up to 3 metres high externally. This has been cut by an old established field entrance in the north western corner. Beyond the ramparts on these two sides is a largely buried ditch which is clearly visible measuring up to 6.5 metres wide and 0.5 metre deep. There is a splayed entrance through the rampart on the western side which measures up to 10.4 metres wide and has been blocked for some time. To the south the ditch peters out, becoming preserved as a completely buried feature, whilst the rampart has become integrated into the extant field boundary which measures up to 1.5 metres high. There is also an access gate in the centre of the southern side. To the east the rampart is again defined by the field boundary, although this and the outer ditch have been cut by the private road which runs alongside at this point. There is a second entrance on the eastern side, which remains in use as a field access; this is defined by slightly incurving low banks beside the gateway, and indicates the integration of the rampart into the field boundary at this point. The field boundary on this side is up to 1.1 metres high. The field boundary banks to the south and east should be viewed as an integral part of the monument since they are probably formed from rampart material; for this reason these features are included within the scheduling. The buried ditch on the eastern side which has been cut significantly by the road, and the road itself, are not included in the scheduling.
The three sets of gateposts at the present entrances and the stock proof fences both on the interior and exterior sides of the ramparts are excluded from the scheduling although the ground beneath these features is included. Other details: Map extract.

Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 2001, Proposed Works at Berry Castle, Woolfardisworthy, Devon (Correspondence). SDV341470.

Scheduled monument consent granted for the erection of new fence lines and gates in accordance with the Countryside Stewardship Management Plan.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV224714Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 13/04/1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3074.
SDV335774Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1906. 44SW. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 6 inch Map. Map (Paper).
SDV341461Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1959. Berry Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV341463Worksheet: Unknown. 1984. Berry Castle. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV341464Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1969 - 1978. SS80NW1. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume. 613.
SDV341466Schedule Document: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Berry Castle. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV341470Correspondence: Department for Culture, Media and Sport. 2001. Proposed Works at Berry Castle, Woolfardisworthy, Devon. Scheduled Monument Consent Letter. Letter.
SDV341472Un-published: Horner, W.. 1996. Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV341473Personal Comment: Horner, W.. 1997. Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy. Unknown.
SDV341477Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1973. Ordnance Survey 1:10000 map. Map (Paper).
SDV341479Un-published: Weston, S.. 1985. Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy. Field Monument Warden Visit. Unknown.
SDV341480Un-published: Weston, S.. 1989. Berry Castle Hillfort, Woolfardisworthy. Field Monument Warden Visit. Unknown.
SDV341481Ground Photograph: Unknown. 1996. Berry Castle. Slide.
SDV343247Un-published: Weston, S.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Unknown.
SDV354628Correspondence: English Heritage. 13/11/2013. Berry Castle, West Emlett, Black Dog. Application for Scheduled Monument Consent. Digital.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jul 2 2019 9:24AM