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HER Number:MDV6880
Name:Hillfort, Okehampton Park

Summary

Earthwork on crest of hill above east okehampton is the remnant of a hillfort. It consists of the tongue of the headland bounded on two sides by the ravines of moor brook and the east okement, cut off from the main hill by a strong earthen vallum and fosse. Original entrance at sw corner in narrow angle between the vallums and moor brook ravine.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 604 941
Map Sheet:SX69SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishOkehampton Hamlets
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishOKEHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 69 SW 1
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX69SW/13
  • Old SAM County Ref: 105
  • Pastscape: 444130

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HILLFORT (Constructed, Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC? to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224293.

Osa=sx69sw1/plan.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224294.

Des=worksheet in parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224295.

Page, w. /vch devon/(1906)578/plan, section.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224296.

Pilkington-rogers, c. W. /tda/64(1932)385 fig. /the date of the dartmoor antiquities.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224297.

Aph=raf/cpe/uk/1995.3193-4/(13/4/1947)in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224298.

Des=greeves, t. /archaeological sites within okehampton park and its vicinity/(1978)no a.5 in smr.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224300.

Aph=nmr sf1507/423,425(8/3/1979).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224301.

Des=nmr/sx69sw1/444130. An Iron Age defended settlement compromising a cross-ridge bank and ditch with a simple central entrance. The work crosses a steep sided spur enclosing just over 2 hectares of fairly level high ground. It is well preserved. Dense bracken prevented the location of the mounds and depressions mentioned by Brailsford. These may be the result of surface quarrying. Published 1/2500 survey revised (NMR).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV224302.

Aph=dap/fy 1-3a/(19/3/1986).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224303.

Grant, n. /pdas/53(1995)104/the occupation of hillforts in devon during the late roman and post-roman periods.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224304.

Fox, a. /prehistoric hillforts in devon/(1996)33.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224305.

Crossing, w. /crossing's guide to dartmoor/(1912)222.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1142.

Vis=27/12/1977 (greeves) the camp at halstock is remarkably impressive. There is a large outer earthwork, and one can also trace an inner earthwork enclosing a smaller area (worksheet).

Ancient Monuments, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV224280.

Vis=-/3/1924 (ancient monuments) promontory fortress by okehampton on the most northern part of dartmoor in the angle formed by the confluence of moor brook with the east okement about 1609m south east of okehampton. The area is irregular but roughly triangular, and is marked out by the moor brook on the south, the east okement on the east and north. On the south and east the promontory is protected by the streams and the sharp declivity of the rocks. Towards the north there is a gradual ascent from the east okement, but this land has been cultivated and there is evidence that part of the earthwork on this side has been destroyed. The present earthwork consists of 2 bow shaped portions separated by an interval which was evidently the chief entrance. Probably a smaller entrance also existed on the south west corner. The distance from the bottom of the fosse to the top of the vallum varies from 3.658m to 4.572m. The southern rampart is about 2.438m, and the northern slightly less. No excavations are known of, and surface searches have yielded nothing. Rampart at a in the southern section was composed of earth and stones. There is a ditch of u-shaped section in excavation trench b in the southern part of the entrance; the only find was a rough scraper of slate. Some distance west of the main earthwork are a group of mounds together with 1 or 2 shallow depressions, each surrounded by a low bank.

RCHM CITING ?OS, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV224282.

Vis=23/7/1974 (?os) an iron age defended settlement compromising a cross-ridge bank and ditch with a simple central entrance. The work crosses a steep sided spur enclosing just over 2ha of fairly level high ground. It is well preserved (rchm citing ?os).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224290.

Worth, r. N. /tda/27(1895)106-107/okehampton beginnings.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV224291.

Baring-gould, s. /book of dartmoor/(1900)97,155.

WORTH, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV6808.

Vis=-/-/1894 (worth) earthwork on crest of hill above east okehampton is the remnant of a hillfort. It consists of the tongue of the headland bounded on two sides by the ravines of moor brook and the east okement, cut off from the main hill by a strong earthen vallum and fosse. Original entrance at sw corner in narrow angle between the vallums and moor brook ravine.

RCHM, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV7666.

Vis=23/7/1989 (rchm) dense bracken prevented the location of the mounds and depressions mentioned by brailsford. These may be the result of surface quarrying (rchm).

Brailsford, J. W., 1937-1947, Article, 86-91 (Article in Serial). SDV224289.

In 1939 J. W. Brailsford opened a trench in the entrance to the camp and cut a section through the rampart. The ditch was max 20 feet wide and 8 feet deep, the rampart 27 feet wide and survived to 6'6" height above the turfline preserved underneath. The entrance was revetted with a well made drystone wall, up to eleven courses high in one place. Some sort of palisade lay partially across the entrance. No definite dating evidence was recovered during the excavation, the only find being a rough slate scraper (brailsford).

Anon, 1939, Okehampton promontory fort, interim report, 253 (Article in Serial). SDV224292.

A small promontory fort comprising a single rampart and ditch. Excavated in August 1939, when no dateable material was found. A cutting and clearance of the south side of the entrance revealed the rampart to be 27 feet wide and 6.5 feet above the old turf line. It was composed of stones and earth with a dry stone revetment wall. The u-shaped outer ditch was about 20 feet wide and 8 feet deep. Some distance west of the main earthwork lay a group of mounds with one or two banked shallow depressions. A section across one, 15 feet in diameter, yielded nothing.

Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 158 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Austin, D. + Daggett, R. H. + Walker, M. J. C., 1980, Farms and fields in Okehampton Park, 42 (Article in Serial). SDV324998.

Northern defences levelled by ploughing.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Visible and recorded.

Probert, S. A. J., 2000, East Hill / Halstock Camp, Okehampton Hamlets (Report - Survey). SDV224306.

In November 2000 English Heritage carried out a survey at 1:1000 at East Hill / Halstock Camp. They concluded that the incomplete outer enclosure of an earthwork rampart and ditch were of Iron Age date and the inner enclosure was of an earlier Prehistoric date.
A small promontory fort of presumed Iron Age origin and set within it is a small enclosure of uncertain date. It occupies an elevated position at the tip of the spur between the East Okement River and the Moor Brook. This area of open moorland forms the northern extremity of Dartmoor. The north-facing hillslopes descend steeply to the outskirts of Okehampton. The rivers Okement and Moor Brook have scoured deep gorges in the moorland plateau to the south thus isolating a relatively small spit of land from the Dartmoor massif.
The southern and eastern sides of the site area are formed by precipitous slopes that fall into wooded gorges. The west and northwest sides are delimited by a well-defined rampart and ditch pierced by a single entrance. The northern half of the site was enclosed by a wall between 1885 and 1905 during which time the area suffered considerable plough damage.
The highest point within the fort, the south-eastern quadrant, is divided from the remainder by a spread stoney scarp. Though no relationships survive between this and the main earthwork it would seem likely that this constitutes an earlier occupation of the promontory. Traces of ridge and furrow are visible in the southern part of the interior.
The enclosed half of the site lies under close-cropped grass while the remainder is largely bracken and gorse-covered. Some clearance of thorn and gorse from the area of the rampart has been undertaken on behalf of the Dartmoor National Park Authority in advance of a detailed survey to assist in the interpretation and future management of the site.

Probert, S. A. J., 2004, Okehampton Castle and Park, West Devon: Survey Report (Report - Survey). SDV324949.

(11/11/2003) No change to this feature since the 2000 survey description.

Ralston, I. + Lock, G., 2017, Atlas of Hillforts (Website). SDV360888.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1142Migrated Record:
SDV224280Report - Survey: Ancient Monuments.
SDV224282Report - Survey: RCHM CITING ?OS.
SDV224289Article in Serial: Brailsford, J. W.. 1937-1947. Article. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society. 3. Unknown. 86-91.
SDV224290Migrated Record:
SDV224291Migrated Record:
SDV224292Article in Serial: Anon. 1939. Okehampton promontory fort, interim report. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 5. Unknown. 253.
SDV224293Migrated Record:
SDV224294Migrated Record:
SDV224295Migrated Record:
SDV224296Migrated Record:
SDV224297Aerial Photograph:
SDV224298Migrated Record:
SDV224300Aerial Photograph:
SDV224301Migrated Record:
SDV224302Aerial Photograph:
SDV224303Migrated Record:
SDV224304Migrated Record:
SDV224305Migrated Record:
SDV224306Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2000. East Hill / Halstock Camp, Okehampton Hamlets. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV324949Report - Survey: Probert, S. A. J.. 2004. Okehampton Castle and Park, West Devon: Survey Report. English Heritage Report. AI/03/2004. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV324998Article in Serial: Austin, D. + Daggett, R. H. + Walker, M. J. C.. 1980. Farms and fields in Okehampton Park. Landscape History. 2. Unknown. 42.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 158.
SDV360888Website: Ralston, I. + Lock, G.. 2017. Atlas of Hillforts. https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/. Website.
SDV6808Migrated Record: WORTH.
SDV7666Migrated Record: RCHM.

Associated Monuments

MDV27413Related to: Charcoal burning platforms on East Hill (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5917 - SCRAPER (TOOL) (Prehistoric - 698000 BC to 42 AD?)

Associated Events

  • EDV3474 - Earthwork survey of Okehampton Castle and Park
  • EDV8551 - Excavation at hillfort, Okehampton Park

Date Last Edited:Feb 8 2021 2:45PM