Castle Ditches Hillfort

Iron Age Hillfort

The remains of a partial contour fort, believed to originate from the Iron Age period (c. 800 BC – AD 74), form a significant monument located on the western end of an east-west ridge. Hillforts, typically situated on hilltops, are known for their massive earthworks, which may have served as symbols of power in the landscape, with functions that could include defence, ostentation, and display.

The hillfort at this site is well-preserved and features a large, intact bank and external ditch on most sides, with a counterscarp bank in some areas. The entrance is located on the south side, and along the southwest side, there is a steep-sided scarp covered in grass and topped with a hedge, revealing stones in some places. Outside the scarp is a ditch, 4m wide and 1.5m deep, with a counterscarp bank measuring 7m wide and 1m high externally. A causeway, 7m wide, crosses the ditch at the west end, and opposite it, the outer bank has been cut into, revealing stones in the cutting. North of the causeway, the outer bank is well-defined, becoming less so towards the northwest corner.

Along the north side, the inner scarp measures 1.5m in height. The ditch continues at the same depth, becoming very shallow in the middle and starting again at around 0.5m deep towards the east end. Outside the ditch, the ground drops steeply and is wooded. At the northeast corner, the ditch and outer bank have become very slight. Along the east side, the bank measures approximately 2.5m in height on the outside and 1.5m in height on the inside, with no ditch. In the middle, there is a 3.5m wide break in the bank where a farm track has been driven through, and a farmyard abuts onto the bank in the southeast corner, where the inside height is 2m. Along the east end of the south side, the external ditch is very shallow, but further west, it measures 5m in width and 1.5m in depth. The bank is 3m high on the outside and 1m high on the inside, with another gate through the bank. The bank turns abruptly towards the south, where there is another entrance with a field gate believed to be the main entrance to the fort. South of it, a broad low bank runs towards the road. The main bank then curves around towards the northwest, being very close to the road, and the ditch appears to have been cut off by it. The ditch starts again, measuring 0.3m in depth and 3-4m in width, with a 3m wide and steep scarp.

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