Plainsfield Camp Hillfort, Over Stowey, Somerset
A small camp, rhomboidal in shape, 180 by 150 yards. Of simple bank and ditch construction with an out-turned entrance in the centre of the E side It is moderate strength and its siting, on a gentle NE facing slope, has no defensive value. Probably Iron age but is not a hillfort.
The interior is without features and is tree covered, but there are a number of field banks about 0.3m high in the surrounding area. The defences are univallate, with a ditch surviving on all sides except on the N where its position is occupied by a modern track. There is a small out-turned entrance on the E side.
Some destruction by forestry operations in 1975.
Interior cleared of some trees and vegetation. Proposal to construct a walk, picnic site and viewpoint for the disabled in 1981. Watching brief carried out. Access track 3m wide built from ST18423606 N towards the outer edge of the ditch of the S apex. Levelled to a depth of 0.4m and tree stumps extracted. Works exposed the outer side and base of the enclosure ditch which was cut into the bedrock. No finds were recorded.
Bank about 10ft high with mature trees growing on the rampart on the SW – beech, horse chestnut, holly etc. Three dugouts or weapon pits of WW2 cut into the bank on the E side. Old excavation pit on the SW corner 1m by 2m and 0.75m deep. S bank is nearly 2.5m high from the interior and the ditch is of similar depth. Completely covered with young fir trees planted within the last two years.
“Settlement” printed on OS 1:10,000 map.
Classed as a slight univallate hillfort. Rectilinear with rounded corners, enclosing c.1ha. Earthworks most pronounced across upper side, where the bank is up to 1.5m and the ditch 1m deep, and least pronounced on the NW side (0.4m high) where natural slope is utilised to give a steep face 2m high. Shallow quarry ditches and scoops inside the ramparts in places. Entrance as described. Gap over N tip is probably not original. On NW and NE forestry tracks have damaged the ditch, though a stretch survives north of the entrance with a counterscarp 0.7m high. Interior uneven, but broad shallow scarps visible which are probably natural. Short linear ditched mound near centre may be a pillow mound. Area of field banks noted outside is now under forestry and not investigated Called Cockercombe Castle locally.
Scheduled area revised with new national number 12.04.94 (was Somerset 334).
Shown on an estate map of 1610, the area was enclosed in the mid C17 and may have been emparked following this, as in 1838 it is referred to as Plainsfield Park. The site was re-assessed and resurveyed as a student project.
The earthwork remains of Plainsfield Camp, also known as Cockercombe Camp, lie on a north-east facing spur of land, at about 235m above OD. The enclosure sits within Park Plantation, an area of Forestry Commission managed woodland which forms part of the Quantock Forest. The enclosure is sub-rectangular in shape, enclosing an area of about 1.2 hectares, and comprises a rampart and external ditch, the latter now intermittent, with a maximum over all width of 14m. The rampart is comprised of stone and earth, 7-10m in width, and stands to a maximum of 3m on the down slope side. The ditch is most prominent along the south-western side where it survives to a depth of 1.2m and is 2m in width.
There are 3 breaches in the circuit, 2 on the north-eastern side and one in the southern corner, the latter of which can be seen to clearly cut the rampart. The break in the northern corner would appear to be contemporary and is possibly the original entrance. The breach at the centre of the south-eastern side has previously been recorded as the original entrance but close examination would suggest that it is possibly later in date. The interior has recently been cleared of trees and several features including a pillow mound (PRN 26766), 2 small pits and several slit trentches dating from ther Second World War were recorded.
The site was recorded as part of the English Heritage survey of the Quantock Hills AONB. The earthworks were recorded at 1:500 scale and located to the national grid using GPS equipment.
OS map reference: ST 1843 3621. Nearest town/village: Crowcombe.
Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.
Record created in November 1985
© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007