Ingleborough Hillfort

Iron Age Hillfort

Atop Ingleborough’s flat summit lies a fortified Brigantian village, encircled by a stone rampart nearly 3000 feet long, bordering a 15-acre plateau. Inside, numerous hut circles are evident, marking it as a ‘defended settlement’ from the Iron Age. This hillfort features a stone rampart enclosing around twenty round houses, making Ingleborough, at 720 meters, the highest hillfort in England. The summit’s gritstone is enclosed by a unique stone rampart, constructed from rubble held within upright stone slabs and dry stone walling. This method is distinctive in England, though similar techniques might be seen in Wales and Scotland.

Erosion and destruction have created gaps in the rampart, but it’s unlikely that the rampart was left incomplete. Quarry scoops behind the rampart and slight ditches outside the southeast rampart are likely remnants of material extraction for construction. The original entrance locations remain uncertain, but the most plausible sites are on the east and northeast sides.

Currently, twenty hut circles, mainly on the more protected eastern side, are visible within the fort. These huts, ranging from 5.5 to 8.0 meters in diameter, feature rubble walls and are often grouped together. Some even include external drainage gullies.

It may be that this was a base for Venutius after his ‘divorce’ from Cartimandua, the Brigantes Queen who was a supporter of the Roman invaders, unlike Venutius who led several rebellions. What we do know is that this fort was used all year, which was unusual for such a location, but at the time of the Romans the climate was much milder, the Romans for example cultivating grapes in Newcastle.

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