Burledge Camp Hillfort, Somerset

Burledge Camp hillfort is a promontory enclosure, univalate on three sides, with a second line of defences to the East.

The promontory on which the enclosure is built is on a spur of land at the far West of a plateau overlooking the Chew Valley Lake. The lake was created in the 1950s by flooding a section of the Chew Valley to act as a reservoir for the Bristol Area.

The enclosure is roughly rectangular, with a (probably) manmade prominence in the North West corner. It commands wide views over the Chew Valley. In 1955 an excavation was conducted, part of which included cutting a section across the ramparts, revealing that they were constructed using blocks of lias – a local Jurassic stone. The interior of the enclosure was also included in the excavation, which revealed an occupation layer nearly two feet thick, and largely confined to a ‘triangular are 100 x 50 yards in the South West corner.’ (1)

Arthur ApSimon, the excavator, dated the occupation layer to the 1st century BCE, and saw evidence for a row of ‘huts’ in the shelter of the Southern and Western ramparts. This was in the days before the term ‘roundhouse’ was used to describe the most common form of IA domestic architecture. Iron slag and parts of ‘clay bowl-furnaces’ were recovered from the extreme South West corner.

There are a number of entrances, and though over the years there seems to have been some difference of opinion as to which one was the original, the majority seem to agree on the Western approach. Over the centuries, much small scale quarrying has taken place here, and the walls are subsequently pretty denuded. Trees cover the majority of the earthworks, but a fair stretch of the rampart at the Western end can still be clearly seen.


OS map reference: ST 582 584. Nearest town/village: Bishop Sutton.


  1. ApSimon,A.M., 1957. Archaeological Notes – Excavations at Burledge Camp, Somerset. UBSS Proceedings, 8(1) , pp 40-0 (PDF)

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