Oldbury Castle Hillfort, Wiltshire

Bivallate hillfort enclosing 25 acres with an entrance to SE. A bank & ditch bisects the interior which may be earlier. Pits excavated by Cunnington 1875 and after.

Outer rampart was not finished. A depression within the hillfort may be a hut site.

The hillfort may have been constructed originally in the Bronze Age as a hilltop enclosure consisting of a bank and ditch which surrounded an area of 6ha. This was enlarged to form a hillfort. The north west and east sides of the enclosure are sealed beneath the Iron Age defences but the side to the south west survives as a single bank up to 1.5m high and a ditch up to 0.6m deep which crosses the hillfort. The defences were enlarged and deepened on the north west and east sides and extended to the south to enclosure a further 2ha. The hillfort is defined by a bank up to 2.5m high which is surrounded by a ditch up to 2m deep.

A broad outer bank up to 2m high flanked by a ditch up to 2m deep surrounds the monument apart from on the north west side where the steep scarp provides a natural defence. To the east, the inner bank turns in to form an entrance which is protected by a outer bank or barbican. A break to the north west is modern, and part of the outer ditch to the west and the outer bank to the east are unfinished. The hillfort and surrounding area has been subject to digging for flint and hard chalk for building which has damaged the interior and part of the south rampart.

A magnetometer survey in 1996 revealed an internal ditch dividing the northern third of the hillfort from the remainder. This may represent a boundary ditch pre-dating the construction of the hillfort. In the northern and eastern sectors of the fort, up to 20 faintly visible circular anomalies may indicate the positions of round timber buildings defined by outer ring-gullies. Scattered among these structures are more than 150 pits.


OS map reference: SU 0497 6925. Nearest town/village: Cherhill.

Information © Wiltshire County Council.

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