Black Ball Camp Hill Fort, Dunster, Somerset.
Black Ball Camp hillfort is an oval univallate enclosure of a relatively small size but with impressive defences – the banks are up to 2.5 metres in height, consisting of earth and stone, and the ditch is up to 1.5 metres deep. The original entrance is on the South West side, where the ramparts are inturned and separated by a causeway (see Fig.01).
Often seen as an outlier of Bat’s Castle, 570 metres up the hill to the South East, Black Ball Camp is a substantial enclosure in it’s own right, and should probably be viewed as part of a complex which includes Bat’s Castle, Bat’s Castle Outwork, and the outwork at the top of the combe 250 metres to the South East (see Fig.02).
The outwork cuts off access to the upper part of the hill, curving across a combe which conceals the most direct path to Dunster. It’s around 110 metres in length, around a metre high on the upper side, and 4 metres high on the downlsope side – a formidable barrier which, along with the outwork to the South East, encloses Gallox Hill in a very economical way (see Fig.03).
OS map reference: SS 9843 4265. Nearest town/village: Dunster.
Forde-Johnston, J (1976). hillforts of the Iron Age in England and Wales. Liverpool.
Denison, Ed (1989). The Hillfort Study Group – Exmoor. Somerset County Council.
Burrow, Ian (1981). Hillfort and hill-top settlement in Somerset in the first to eighth centuries A.D. BAR.
Exmoor HER MSO9410 and MSO12262