Grabbist Hillfort, Grabbist Hill, Dunster, Somerset

The enclosure on Grabbist Hill is centred at SS 9830 4367. It lies on the southeastern edge of the hill at 170m OD, commanding views over Dunster to the enclosures on Gallox Hill. The site was surveyed at a scale of 1:1000 using GPS and EDM as part of the RCHME Exmoor Project. The enclosure is ovoid in plan and measures 270x67m. No defences are present on the southern edge, where the land falls away steeply to the base of the “Giant’s Chair”, a natural feature formed by land slippage.

The earthworks are strongest at the northeastern corner, where a ditch and counterscarp bank run for some 70m. A possible inner rampart has been disturbed by a later field boundary which runs around the inner edge of most of the enclosure. The ditch here is 2.2m deep and the overall width of the defences is 10m. The break where the modern track enters the enclosure may be an original entrance. Most of the northern edge of the enclosure is defined by a single scarp 1.3-1.9m high. A quarry scarp is also discernible behind this scarp. The field bank mentioned above links the northern edge with a scarp which cuts off the eastern edge of the spur.

Narrow ridging covers the southeastern part of the interior and a length of field bank runs north-south for 30m to the west of this. The site lies in fairly open deciduous woodland. The nature and scale of the earthworks, combined with their location both topographically and in their proximity to the enclosures on Gallox Hill, suggest that the site is an Iron Age defended enclosure. Cultivation has taken place on the site; this probably occurred in the medieval or post medieval period, although no map evidence for this was found.


OS map reference: SS 9817 4369. Nearest town/village: Dunster.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created in June 1984

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007

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