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HER Number:MDV9145
Name:Berry's Wood Hillfort, Newton Abbot

Summary

Iron Age hillfort at Berry's Wood in Highweek enclosing several hut circles. Earthworks of the hillfort and hut circles are visible on oblique aerial photographs taken in 1980 and on digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2017.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 847 710
Map Sheet:SX87SW
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishNewton Abbot
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishHIGHWEEK

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 447025
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX87SW/23
  • Old SAM County Ref: 256
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX87SW9

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, SX87SW9 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV338563.

A contour hillfort whose main defences consist of a single rampart of limestone, mostly overthrown, and a ditch. The main entrance, at the southeast end, is inturned and approached by a sunk and embanked way. The various parts of this hillfort were pointed out on the ground by Mrs Woolner. The hilltop is flat, and occupies approximately 4.45 hectares of pasture. A stone wall surrounds the plateau, and beyond this the hill falls fairly steeply, its sides being wooded. Only where the slope is gradual have defences been made in the form of a ditch and counterscarp. There are two probable entrances. That at the east is a hollow way type entrance which is visible inside the modern wall. The earth has been banked on either side, from which the ground slopes naturally. From side to side the entrance way averages 8.0 meters width. The entrance at the north west of the site is marked by a narrower hollow way and enters the plateau through a (natural?) cutting in the limestone. This hollow way has possibly been used in comparatively recent times and joins a cart-track towards the bottom of the hill. From east entrance the hillside is naturally steep and defensive. It has probably been scarped in a few places, but there is no ditch or counterscarp. The earthworks are tree covered throughout but are generally prominent and in fairly good condition. Two hut circles are visible on the plateau near the east entrance, and lettered A and B. Hut Circle B: diameter 10.0 metres, with a bank 0.3 to 0.4 metres high. Entrance to south east. Hut Circle A: diameter 10.0 metres, with a bank from 0.3 to 0.6 metres high, and an additional enclosure on its west side, 6.0 metres from east to west, with a bank of approximately 0.2 metres in height. Entrance to south. Both huts are grass covered, but limestone outcrops are frequent in their vicinity. The interior of the hut circles were examined in June 1976 and found to be intact. About a third of the fort had been ploughed and grassed. There were deep wheel tracks into the for from the northwest end. Possibly subsoiled as large limestone lumps had recently been heaped along the northern edge adjacent to the ploughed area. In the other two thirds the ground surface consisted of light brown turfy soil which had not been disturbed. The ploughed area formed a crescent in the flattest part of the interior. Other details: Plan and Photograph.


Department of Environment, 1949, Berry's Wood Hillfort (Schedule Document). SDV338561.

Berry's Wood (query 'Bury') Hillfort. Hillfort of the early Iron Age. It is situated on a limestone hill which has wooded slopes on all sides: steep with vertical outcrops. The top is a grassy field bounded by a dry stone wall (modern) which is for the most part on the line of the defensive wall or bank of the fort. Where the dry-wall moves inwards slightly, the remains of the Iron Age defences are seen as a low stony bank. For the greater part of the circuit the scarps are too steep for a ditch but the eastern half of the hill shows a ditch and counterscarp bank - intermittently. The best preserved part of the structure is the incurved entrance and the hollow way (banked on either side) which leads up to it, 45.7 meters across from bank top to bank top. At the western end a portion of the bank is fortunately visible and a zigzag path leads up to a narrow entry: formed by a projecting bank and scarped rock. This is not in use, the farm track to the top is engineered on an easy diagonal slope. There are two hut circles visible in the area 6.1 meters diameter internal; round the margins are shallow shapeless hollows and dimples (spoil ditch). Hut Circle B has entrance to south east. Hut Circle A has additional enclosure on west side. Finds on site: few small fragments of pottery, two small beads of plain blue coloured glass, also pieces of saddle querns of volcanic rock from the Exeter area. Thin red sandstone slabs are numerous at the site, and are also imports for the hill is of limestone, with a spring at its foot. Other details: Monument 256.


Fox, A., 1950, Seventeenth Report on the Early History of Devon, 103-6 (Article in Serial). SDV336158.

A contour hill fort discovered in Berry's Wood near Bradley Manor. The defences consist of a single rampart of limestone and a ditch. The main entrance at the southeast is inturned and approached up a sunk and embanked way. There is a postern at the northwest end. The area enclosed is approximately 11 acres and there are indications of huts inside.


Fox, A., 1951, Twentieth Report on Ancient Monuments, 34-5 (Article in Serial). SDV24924.

Berry's Wood hill fort in Highweek added to the Schedule of Ancient Monuments.


Woolner, D., 1962, The Excavation at Berry Down (Article in Serial). SDV338565.

Excavation of circular hut on Berry Down. Internal diameter circa 6 metres. Terraced into the limestone. Postholes at entrance suggested massive doorframe. Finds include sherds of Glastonbury ware, local coarse wares, fragments of querns, several iron nails, 2 iron staples, a turned and decorated spindle-whorl of stone, some sling stones and whetstones. Hut can be dated provisionally to 1st centuries BC & AD.


Peacock, D. P. S., 1969, A Contribution to the Study of Glastonbury Ware form South-Western Britain, 58 (Article in Serial). SDV135837.

Author refers to the Woolner excavations. Other details: Fig 1.


Timms, S. C., 1976, The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft, 138 (Report - Survey). SDV341346.

Berry's Wood and Milber Down hillforts provide the earliest evidence for settlement in the Newton Abbot area. Berry's Wood occupies a commanding position overlooking the River Lemon, less than one kilometre to the west of the town centre. Both were occupied in the first century BC.


Gray, V. K., 1979, Berry's Wood Hillfort (Un-published). SDV338564.

Site visit 9th January 1979. The plateau is partly levelled with stone and soil from the building site at the bottom of the hill, now about 4 or 5 years old. The two hut circles were not covered. One of these was excavated many years ago by Mrs Woolner of Bradley Manor. The dry stone wall which follows the bank of the fort has fallen in some places, especially on the north side, and has been replaced by a wire fence and a variety of material, including the roots of a large tree.


National Monument Record, 1980, NMR 1748, NMR 1748/132 22-APR-1980 (Aerial Photograph). SDV361857.

Earthworks of circular banks are visible.


Ordnance Survey, 1980, Survey Drawing (Cartographic). SDV338576.


National Monuments Record, 1980, SX8471:SF1748, 135 (Aerial Photograph). SDV338577.


Robinson, R., 1982, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982 (Un-published). SDV345608.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden on 2nd November 1982. Additional possible hut circles are visible in the southern part of the interior. The southern ramparts are in National Trust ownership.


National Trust, 1984, Bradley Manor (Report - Survey). SDV307144.

The part of the hillfort defences which are within the National Trust boundary are in reasonable condition. Scrub restricts access. Housing estates now have been built right up to the edge of the National Trust boundary. If unauthorised paths develop there is a likelihood of the earthworks being fenced off. The most threatened part of the earthworks is probably the hollow way approaching the entrance to the eastern end. Description as given.


Gallant, L. + Silvester, R. J., 1985, An Excavation on the Iron Age Hillfort at Berry Down, Newton Abbot, 39-49 (Article in Serial). SDV338578.

Two names are attached to the site - Berry Down and The Warren. The kidney-shaped defences enclose an area of 4.5 hectares measuring 340 metres from east to west and 130 metres from north to south with entrances to the east and in the northwest corner. Three circular houses were identified in the eastern sector with interior diameters of 8 - 10 metres and entrances to the east. The most northerly house was excavated in August 1962 and revealed two phases of constuction. The finds included La Tene decorated pottery, spindle whorls and quern stones.


Gallant, L., 1985 - 1986, A 19th Century Fete in Bradley Woods, 178-179 (Article in Serial). SDV338574.

Site of fete in 1855.


Griffith, F. M., 1986, DAP/GU, 11-13 (Aerial Photograph). SDV338019.


Robinson, R., 1986, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986 (Un-published). SDV345664.

Site visit by Department of Environment Field Monument Warden on 6th March 1986.


Grant, N., 1995, The Occupation of Hillforts in Devon during the Late Roman and Post Roman Periods, 102 (Article in Serial). SDV7954.


Quinnell, H., 1998, Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey (Report - Survey). SDV336212.

Circa 30 sherds of middle/late Iron Age pot, recovered during rescue excavation. Other non-ceramics recovered, stone whorl, iron object, quern, slag. Other details: DBID:1764.


Environment Agency, 1998-2017, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor, LIDAR SX8470; SX8471 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017 (Cartographic). SDV361470.

Linear and curvilinear earthworks of banks and ditches are visible.


Waterman CPM Ltd, 2006, Mile End, Newton Abbot: Archaeological Assessment, 5 (Report - Assessment). SDV338555.

Other details: Appendix 2.


Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M., 2011, In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts (Article in Serial). SDV361500.


Ordnance Survey, 2012, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV348725.


Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2018-2019, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley (Interpretation). SDV361305.

Earthworks of the prehistoric hillfort of Berry’s Wood are visible as a series of linear and curvilinear banks and ditches on oblique aerial photographs taken in 1980 and on digital images derived from lidar data captured between 1998 and 2017. The hillfort occupies an area of circa 3.86 hectares on a prominent crescent shaped hilltop which slopes steeply down on all sides. The hillfort is defined by a banked rampart, circa 12m wide, with sections of an outer ditch, circa 9m wide, and narrow counterscarp bank visible along the northern and southern edges of the hillfort. Flanking the inside edge of most of the main banked rampart is a shallow earthwork depression which measures circa 7m wide, but which is of uncertain function. An entrance is clearly visible at the eastern end which is defined by a prominent sunken passageway circa 65m long and flanked on either side by banks, with a second but less elaborate entrance to the northwest. Two earthworks banked circular enclosures 12m diameter and interpreted as contemporary hut circles are present towards the eastern entrance. The hillfort earthworks are almost entirely masked on aerial imagery by dense tree cover of Berry’s Wood and transcriptions were made entirely from images derived from lidar data. The resolution of these lidar images is, however, poor in places which made their interpretation difficult.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV135837Article in Serial: Peacock, D. P. S.. 1969. A Contribution to the Study of Glastonbury Ware form South-Western Britain. Antiquaries Journal. 49. Unknown. 58.
SDV24924Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1951. Twentieth Report on Ancient Monuments. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 83. A5 Hardback. 34-5.
SDV307144Report - Survey: National Trust. 1984. Bradley Manor. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. A4 Stapled + Digital.
SDV336158Article in Serial: Fox, A.. 1950. Seventeenth Report on the Early History of Devon. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 82. A5 Hardback. 103-6.
SDV336212Report - Survey: Quinnell, H.. 1998. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. Later Prehistoric Pottery Survey. A4 Spiral Bound.
SDV338019Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1986. DAP/GU. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 11-13.
SDV338555Report - Assessment: Waterman CPM Ltd. 2006. Mile End, Newton Abbot: Archaeological Assessment. Waterman CPM Ltd. H2051_03b. A4 Stapled + Digital. 5.
SDV338561Schedule Document: Department of Environment. 1949. Berry's Wood Hillfort. The Schedule of Monuments. A4 Stapled.
SDV338563Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. SX87SW9. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV338564Un-published: Gray, V. K.. 1979. Berry's Wood Hillfort. Ancient Monuments Wardens Report Form. Unknown.
SDV338565Article in Serial: Woolner, D.. 1962. The Excavation at Berry Down. Devon Archaeological Exploration Society Newsletter. 1. A4 Stapled.
SDV338574Article in Serial: Gallant, L.. 1985 - 1986. A 19th Century Fete in Bradley Woods. Transactions of the Torquay Natural History Society. 19.4. Unknown. 178-179.
SDV338576Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1980. Survey Drawing. Ordnance Survey 1:1250. Map (Paper).
SDV338577Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1980. SX8471:SF1748. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 135.
SDV338578Article in Serial: Gallant, L. + Silvester, R. J.. 1985. An Excavation on the Iron Age Hillfort at Berry Down, Newton Abbot. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 43. A5 Paperback. 39-49.
SDV341346Report - Survey: Timms, S. C.. 1976. The Devon Urban Survey, 1976. First Draft. Devon Committee for Rescue Archaeology Report. A4 Unbound + Digital. 138.
SDV345608Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1982. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1982. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV345664Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1986. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1986. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV348725Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2012. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #109349 ]
SDV361305Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2018-2019. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 1, Haldon Ridge to Dart Valley. Historic England Research Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1
SDV361470Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2017. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) EA: South Devon Coast to Dartmoor. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital. LIDAR SX8470; SX8471 Environment Agency DTM 01-JAN-1998 to 31-MAY-2017.
SDV361500Article in Serial: Griffith, F. M. + Wilkes, E. M.. 2011. In the Footsteps of Pioneering Women; Some Recent Work on Devon Hillforts. British Archaeological Reports. 548. Paperback Volume.
SDV361857Aerial Photograph: National Monument Record. 1980. NMR 1748. National Monument Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). NMR 1748/132 22-APR-1980.
SDV7954Article in Serial: Grant, N.. 1995. The Occupation of Hillforts in Devon during the Late Roman and Post Roman Periods. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 53. Paperback Volume. 102.

Associated Monuments

MDV14570Related to: Prehistoric Flints from Berry's Wood Hillfort, Newton Abbot (Monument)
MDV44718Related to: The Warren, Berry Down, Newton Abbot (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV916 - BEAD (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV915 - POT (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV917 - QUERN (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV921 - SLAG (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV919 - SLING SHOT (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV918 - SPINDLE WHORL (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)
  • FDV920 - WHETSTONE (Iron Age - 700 BC to 42 AD)

Associated Events

  • EDV4236 - Mile End, Newton Abbot
  • EDV7515 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey (Ref: ACD1748)

Date Last Edited:Dec 19 2018 2:21PM