Orchard Wood Hillfort, Corfe, Somerset

Orchard Wood hillfort is an unfinished univallate semi-circular [sic] hillfort has been located on a hilltop in mixed woodland occupying 1.4ha (3.56 acres) of the summit plateau. A 240m length of rampart and external ditch runs east- west across the middle of the plateau turning northwards at both ends and continuing for some distance along the summit rim. At its highest the rampart stands 2.5m above the ditch bottom. There are traces of a rampart and ditch at the north end of the summit rim and counterscarp banks occur at both north and south ends of the defences.

A bank and ditch of approximately 300m circumference, representing 60% of a circuit, was recorded on a field visit to Orchard Hill, following notification from S Minton of Forest Enterprise. The interior is flat and wooded. The interior bank stands up to 1.5m above the interior ground surface, and up to 5m from the ditch base. The ditch is approximately 5m wide at its base. There is an outer bank on the northern side of the ditch. The earthworks did not visibly continue on the eastern side of the circuit.

The site occupies the western side of the highest part of the hill, on a north-western spur of the Blackdown Hills and (unwooded) would overlook the Tone valley.

The description of the site as “semi-circular” should read “semi-contour” in the original text.

The hillfort is an oval 190m (SW-NE) x 100m with a rampart (1.8m high) and ditch (3.5m deep) along the southern side beyond which the hill rises gently to its summit. The northern side is defined by a steep scarp, using the natural topography, with a short length of ditch at the northern end.

The original entrance was probably on the E where the rampart and ditch end but this is obscured by dense vegetation and some later quarrying.

The interior contains numerous small pits, some of which clearly post-date the defences, and are probably mining trial pits.


OS map reference: ST 2495 2035. Nearest town/village: Taunton.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created on 05 June 2001

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007

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