HeritageGateway - Home
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV8824
Name:Hunter's Tor Camp, Lustleigh


Hunter's Tor Camp hillfort shows evidence for two phases of construction; a multiple enclosure followed by a stone wall. A possible hut circle is visible on the north-east side of the outer rampart.


Grid Reference:SX 761 824
Map Sheet:SX78SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishLustleigh
Ecclesiastical ParishLUSTLEIGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX78SE2
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 445589
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78SE/5
  • Old SAM County Ref: 279
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX78SE2

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Cambridge University Collection, CUC/RC8-X, 38-9 (Aerial Photograph). SDV314869.

Shows very well on aerial photograph (at NCC Taunton).

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

Victoria County History, 1906, The Victoria History of the County of Devon, 597, plan (Article in Serial). SDV238214.

"Within the central area, at the south-east are the foundations of three hut circles".

Beckerlegge, J. J., 1940, Ninth report of the Plymouth and District Branch, 156 (Article in Serial). SDV147947.

Fox, A., 1952, Twenty-first Report on Ancient Monuments, 240 (Article in Serial). SDV342835.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1953, SX78SE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV279593.

(03/03/1953) Description roughly in agreement with description provided by Ancients Monuments above.
A typical concentric enclosure hill-fort of south-western Iron Age 'B' type. The ramparts have been obscured on the north-east side by ploughing and the construction of a field wall. Three hut circles described in the interior, but subsequent Ordnance Survey visit on 08/05/1953 failed to find these due to vegetation and boulders.

Ministry of Works, 1960, Hunter's Tor Camp, Lustleigh, Devon (Schedule Document). SDV280635.

Hunter's Tor Camp. A fine small-scale triple-ramparted hill fort. The ramparts are stone built, with shallow ditches, wide spaced with level berms, 40-50 feet wide, between each, in the south-west manner. The entrance is from the south-east. The ends of the middle rampart are inturned, forming an embanked entrance way, which joins the innermost rampart: the entry through the outer rampart and ditch is by a causeway.
The outer rampart and ditch fade out on the steep slopes to north and west.
The condition is quite good, despite the removal of much stone for field walls by the farmer.

Cotton, M. A., 1961, Observations on the Classification of Hillforts in Southern England, 63 (Article in Monograph). SDV280651.

Cotton refers to the possibility of two constructional phases, one consisting of a stone built wall.

Allen, D. F., 1961, Problems of the Iron Age in Southern Britain, 57 (Article in Serial). SDV24853.

Iron Age hill-fort at Hunters' Tor: "Three concentric enclosures, defences stone built and partly robbed for field walls. Inner entrance knobbed with embanked approach-road across second enclosure. Hill-top site."

Cambridge University, 1971, CUC/BFF, 32 (Aerial Photograph). SDV308638.

Feacham, R. W., 1971, Unfinished Hill-Forts, 28 (Article in Monograph). SDV280655.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1979, SX78SE2 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV280644.

(07/07/1979) Triple-ramparted hillfort of stone with shallow ditches, widely spaced with level berms 12m-15.5m wide between each rampart in the ttradition of south-west England. Entrance is from the south-east with the end of the middle rampart inturned to form an embanked entranceway which joins the innermost rampart. Entrance through the outer rampart and ditch via a causeway. The outer rampart and ditch are obscured on the slopes to the north and west. condition good despite the removal of much stone for field walls by farmers. Surveyed at 1:500.

Silvester, R. J. + Quinnell, N. V., 1980, Survey of Hunters Tor Camp (Plan - measured). SDV291863.

Camp surveyed at 1:1000. Many subordinate features visible.

Griffith, F. M., 1984, Hunter's tor Camp (Ground Photograph). SDV280652.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, Hunters Tor Camp (Personal Comment). SDV280653.

Site visit 5th May 1985. Site survives in excellent condition. A probable hut circle is visible between the inner and outer banks at circa SX76198245. This is shown on Silvester and Quinnell's survey, most features of which confirmed. No hut circles observed in interior, which has plainly been disturbed.

Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/HP, 8-9 (Aerial Photograph). SDV304235.

Silvester, R. J. + Quinnell, N. V., 1993, Unfinished Hillforts on the Devon Moors, 17-22 (Article in Serial). SDV62321.

Hunter's Tor lies at the end of a ridge bounded by the River bovey and the Wray Brook with views to the north and west. Surface examination suggests a complicated constructional sequence. The incorporation of a lynchet on its west side and the presecne of at least four denuded banks within its interior suggests it was superimposed upon an earlier field system.
The hillfort comprises three enclosures, defined by inner, middle and outer circuits. The inner circuit encloses 0.6 hectares and has a low bank with a ditch on the south side and continues west as a scarpt. The outer circuit is of similar construction. The defences are at their most massive adjacent to the simple causewayed entrance with a vertical height of circa 2.4 metres from ditch bottom to bank top. At the south-west corner the rear of the bank is overlain by the middle circuit and begins to fade. However, its alignment at this point implies that the builders used a pre-existing lynchet as a marker bank. There are also indications that a further section of lynchet was heightened halfway along the west side. This aside, there is a substantial gap in the perimeter defences until the north-west corner where the bank, emerging as a scarp, gradually increases in size. Traces of a ditch are visible where the bank curves towards the entrance. The middle circuit is different and sits uncomfortably between the inner and outer lines. It consists of a platform of stones with large upright revetment slabs lining the inner face on the south side. A similar technique is apparent at the north-west corner. There is no evidence of any continuation along the west side. Elsewhere the platform has been utilised as a field wall foundation. A possible hut intrudes upon the outer face of the rampart in the north-east. At the entrance, which is in line with those through the other circuits, the banks turn in sharply to form a passage 25 metres long. The terminals appear to have been deliberately heightened and overlie the ends of the innter circuit. The partial blockage of the entrance may represent a change of plan but this more likely represents material dumped during the subsequent construction of a platform cut into the outer angle of the adjacent inturn.
Two phases of construction area apparent. Two concentric ramparts were initally planned, typlical of hillforts around the edge of Dartmoor. The inner circuit is certainly unfinished and the dumping of material from the ditch to form, in effect, a counterscarp bank, seems illogical, although a similar process has been recorded at Durnhill in Scotland (citing Feacham). More of the outer circuit was completed. The stone wall is a later construction but also seems unfinished, although the amount of loose stone removed for building nearby field walls cannot be estimated.

Fox, A., 1996, Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon (DNPA Copy), 39 (Monograph). SDV360402.

Moore, B., 2005, Hunter's Tor Hillfort, Lustleigh, Devon: an Earthwork Survey (Report - Survey). SDV359867.

The earthworks are situated near the summit of Hunter's Tor at the northern end of the ridge of Lustleigh Cleave at around 324m OD and are centred at SX 7615 8240. The granite tor, from which the site takes its name, is to the north east of the earthworks and beyond this the hill slopes fairly steeply down to Peck Farm. To the south west of the tor the hill is at its steepest, where it falls away into the valley formed by the River Bovey. This situation gives the site wide-ranging views to the north and west. South of the tor the land slopes more gently and evidence of cultivation is clear.
The outer rampart, consisting of a bank and a ditch, although no longer forming a complete circuit, is perhaps the most imposing. To the north of the entrance the bank reaches a height of 2m from the bottom of the ditch and elsewhere, is up to 1.8m high. As would be expected, the earthworks on either side of the entrance are the strongest. The banks widen to form two club-ended terminals creating platforms over 3m wide on either side of the entrance. To the south, an external, 4m-wide ditch is preserved which ends in a rounded terminal, creating a 7m-wide causeway between it and the terminal of the ditch to the north of the entrance. This northern section of the ditch has become obscured by a relatively modern wall. The entranceway between the two banks is narrower, around 3m wide. Inside the outer rampart entrance, running parallel on either side of the walkway are two wide banks set back from the terminals around 1m in height which leave a 14m-wide area between them.
The rampart extending to the north from the entrance continues as a strong scarp until petering out at the most northerly point of the hillfort. A shallow plough scarp adjacent to the foot of the rampart marks the limit of more recent agricultural use of the field to the east. Any trace of a ditch along this section would have been effaced by medieval and post-medieval ploughing. What is likely to be another section of the outer rampart is a 62m-long scarp on the west side of the monument. A maximum of 1.8m high, this is of markedly different appearance to the scarps north and south of it and to which it is adjoined, but similar in dimensions and construction to other parts of the outer rampart to the north and south. If the rampart had originally formed a complete circuit, which included this section of bank, then the area enclosed would have been 1.7 hectares.
The inner rampart encloses an area of 0.6 hectares and has a maximum diameter of 96m. It consists for the most part of a moderate scarp of 4m wide on average. Although uneven, the enclosed area is relatively flat and clear of stones. To the south of the inner entrance there is evidence of both an inner and outer ditch although both fade abruptly before the scarp turns and heads northwards. There are however linear and circular mounds of material up to 14m long by 3m wide following the outside of the scarp on the western and northern arc of the circuit, representing vestiges of a bank.
The central rampart sits at odds with the other two enclosures; although between them, it is not concentric and it is constructed using a different style and materials. The most obvious difference is in the percentage and size of the stones used, especially in the construction of its elaborate entrance and at section to the north west. In these areas there are double rows of parallel, edge-set stones running along the top of the scarp, which probably formed facings.
The banks that form the two sides of the entrance of the central rampart turn inwards and project approximately 24m beyond the backs of the ramparts at right angles. This has left a corridor of between 3 and 5m in width although erosion is likely to have narrowed this over time.
Immediately to the south of the entrance on the outer face of the scarp are two depressions cut into the rampart . They are both approximately 7m in diameter and are irregular in shape. These may be the hut circles referred to by VCH although they are more likely to be quarrying pits from where stone has been robbed as the internal surfaces are concave and uneven.
A modern dry-stone wall runs along the top of the central rampart from south east to north west. This is constructed from the same granite as parts of the hillfort certainly reusing some stone from the monument.

Natural England Volunteers, 2009-2015, Natural England Volunteer Archaeological Survey, B4 (Worksheet). SDV350591.

Site visit 16th April 2010. Features clearly visible.

Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, 1003827 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

Hunter's Tor Hillfort. The monument includes a small multivallate hillfort situated on a prominent hill forming the northern side of the valley of the River Bovey. The hillfort survives as an oval enclosure measuring 116 metres long by 70 metres wide internally defined by three concentric ramparts with shallow ditches to the south east and two to the north-west. The entrance is to the south east and inturned creating an embarked causewayed entrance through the three ramparts. The outer rampart and ditch narrow to the north and west. A hut circle lies between the ramparts on the eastern side between the middle and inner ramparts.

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

Historic England, 2021-2022, NRHE to HER website, Accessed 25/06/2021 (Website). SDV364039.

Additional source noted: Moore B & Newman P, EH Archaeological Investigation 18-AUG-2004

National Monuments Record, Unknown, SX7682 (Aerial Photograph). SDV280645.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV147947Article in Serial: Beckerlegge, J. J.. 1940. Ninth report of the Plymouth and District Branch. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 72. A5 Hardback. 156.
SDV238214Article in Serial: Victoria County History. 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Victoria History of the County of Devon. 1. Unknown. 597, plan.
SDV24853Article in Serial: Allen, D. F.. 1961. Problems of the Iron Age in Southern Britain. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. Unknown. 57.
SDV279593Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1953. SX78SE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV280635Schedule Document: Ministry of Works. 1960. Hunter's Tor Camp, Lustleigh, Devon. The Schedule of Monuments. Foolscap.
SDV280644Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1979. SX78SE2. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown.
SDV280645Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. Unknown. SX7682. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph.
SDV280651Article in Monograph: Cotton, M. A.. 1961. Observations on the Classification of Hillforts in Southern England. Problems of the Iron Age in Southern Britain. Unknown. 63.
SDV280652Ground Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1984. Hunter's tor Camp. Slide.
SDV280653Personal Comment: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. Hunters Tor Camp.
SDV280655Article in Monograph: Feacham, R. W.. 1971. Unfinished Hill-Forts. The Iron Age and its Hillforts. Unknown. 28.
SDV291863Plan - measured: Silvester, R. J. + Quinnell, N. V.. 1980. Survey of Hunters Tor Camp. Digital.
SDV304235Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/HP. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 8-9.
SDV308638Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University. 1971. CUC/BFF. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper). 32.
SDV314869Aerial Photograph: Cambridge University Collection. CUC/RC8-X. Cambridge University Collection of Aerial Photographs. Photograph (Paper). 38-9.
SDV341465Article in Monograph: Wall, J. C.. 1906. Ancient Earthworks. Victoria History of the County of Devon. Hardback Volume.
SDV342835Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1952. Twenty-first Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 84. A5 Hardback. 240.
SDV350591Worksheet: Natural England Volunteers. 2009-2015. Natural England Volunteer Archaeological Survey. Natural England Archaeological Survey. Worksheet. B4.
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. 1003827.
SDV359867Report - Survey: Moore, B.. 2005. Hunter's Tor Hillfort, Lustleigh, Devon: an Earthwork Survey. English Heritage. A1/09/2005. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV360402Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon (DNPA Copy). Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Paperback Volume. 39.
SDV360888Website: Ralston, I. + Lock, G.. 2017. Atlas of Hillforts. https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/. Website.
SDV364039Website: Historic England. 2021-2022. NRHE to HER website. https://nrhe-to-her.esdm.co.uk/NRHE. Website. Accessed 25/06/2021.
SDV62321Article in Serial: Silvester, R. J. + Quinnell, N. V.. 1993. Unfinished Hillforts on the Devon Moors. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 51. Paperback Volume. 17-22.

Associated Monuments

MDV104908Parent of: Hut Circle at Hunter's Tor Camp, Lustleigh (Monument)
MDV117258Related to: Post Medieval Field System south-east of Hunter's Tor Hillfort, Lustleigh (Monument)
MDV8848Related to: Prehistoric Field System around Hunter's Tor Hillfort, Lustleigh (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6071 - East Devon Natural Nature Reserve and surrounds Archaeological Survey
  • EDV7122 - Hunter's Tor Hillfort, Lustleigh, Devon: an Earthwork Survey (Ref: A1/09/2005)

Date Last Edited:Jun 25 2021 10:51AM