Gaer Hill Camp, Penterry

Iron Age Hillfort

Gaer Hill Camp, Penterry appears to be an earthwork/stone-built enclosure located on a hilltop with panoramic views to the east, south, and west, and a drop in ground level in all directions except to the north. The enclosure consists of two distinct parts: an outer enclosure and an inner enclosure.

The outer enclosure is a large roughly circular area enclosed by a bank and ditch, with an outer bank in some areas. The ditch is approximately 3m wide and 1.5m deep on the inside and 0.5 to 1.2m deep on the outside. The bank is 0.5 to 1.2m high where it exists, but is missing on the northwest side. The outer enclosure starts to the east of the farm buildings and continues along the southeast side where the ditch becomes shallower. The defences are clearer along the northern side, where the inner bank is 1.5 to 2m high on the outside, and there is a ditch 3.5m wide outside of it, followed by an outer bank 0.7 to 1.2m high on the outside. The banks and ditch continue in a north-easterly direction, running along the edge of a wood and becoming more massive within the wood, with the inner bank reaching a height of 0.7m on the inside and 2m on the outside. The outer bank is 1 to 1.5m high on the inside and 0.7m high on the outside, and there are small stones on the surfaces of the banks and ditch in the wood. The banks and ditches abruptly stop at the edge of the wood, with no signs of continuation in the grass field beyond. A Trig Point stands on the outer bank at the western end.

The inner enclosure is located in the centre of the larger outer enclosure and is much smaller, roughly square in plan. It is defined by banks and a ditch, with the eastern side located in the wood and the rest in pasture. The section in the wood is well preserved and steep-sided, with a ditch 2m deep on both sides and 2m wide. On the inside is a small bank 0.5m high, which has a field boundary (a fence) on top of it. In the northeast corner, the ditch and bank turn at a right angle towards the south and continue in the wood. The ditch is 1.5 to 1.8m deep on the outside and 2m deep on the inside, with the small bank on the inside continuing. There is also a low bank, 0.7m high, on the outside. At the southern end of this side, the outer bank has almost disappeared. The ditch turns another right angle in the southeast corner. Along the southern side, there is an outer bank of similar height, which is joined by a gently sloping bank, 0.5m high, along the western side. At the northern end of the western side, the outer bank is joined by another similar outer bank, with a causeway across the ditch between them. Along the northern side in the field, there is a rough irregular shallow ditch that diminishes towards the western end. The interior of the inner enclosure has a few low ridges but is otherwise featureless.

The date or precise nature of the enclosure is unknown, but it is likely to be later prehistoric or medieval in origin. The commanding position on a hilltop with panoramic views suggests a strategic location for defensive purposes. Further archaeological investigation, such as excavation and dating techniques, would be needed to determine the exact age and purpose of the enclosure.

Sites near Gaer Hill Camp, Penterry