Rowberrow Camp Hillfort, Shipham, Somerset

Rowberrow camp hillfot. N part of the interior slopes very steeply, built below the brow of a hill, so that defence was not the primary consideration. Gap on the W side may be the original entrance.

Similar to the nearby enclosure of unknown date and purpose (PRN 10774). It is on a steep S facing slope and consists of a bank and ditch. A forestry track runs through it E-W but the gap in the SW is probably original.

The defences have been damaged by forestry operations, but consist of a bank rising up to 1.5m from the bottom of the ditch and 30cm from the interior. It is possible that the present track utilises an original entrance on the W.

Crossed by a hard forestry track which is also a public bridle-way. On the SW the bank has been cut into by this track and a face 0.75m high created from this, stones are eroding onto the road surface. On average the bank and ditch are each 6m wide and 2m from the bank crest to ditch bottom. The interior is very uneven with many deep hollows.

Sub-square enclosure towards the head of a valley. Rectilinear with rounded corners, enclosing 0.36ha. The bank is 0.5m high, but absent on the lower side where there is a scarp. The external ditch is up to 0.75m deep. Perhaps a stock enclosure of later prehistoric or Romano-British date. Hollows line the forestry track from the E entrance and are probably tree-holes.

Scheduling revised with new national number 19.08.94 (was Somerset 202).

To the N of the track the earthwork are clear although beneath a mature conifer plantation (planted 1941 and due for felling in 2000). Part of the ditch lies beneath a forestry road and there are badgers in the E part. To the S the earthworks are less distinct but have been cleared of trees.

The prehistoric or earlier Roman enclosure centred at ST 4644 5682 is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs in the southeast of Rowberrow Warren, Shipham.

The enclosure is sub-rectangular in form, measuring 76m by 83m. The earthworks consist of a bank with an external ditch which has been cut though by a forestry track from east to west. The bank measures up to 10m in width and the external ditch measures up to 7m in width. A gap in the bank, centred at ST 4640 5682 and measuring 6m in width, in the southwestern corner may be an original entrance, as described above in (1) and (4).

A number of hollows are located within the enclosure and extending to the east. These have been interpeted as tree holes but are similar in morphology to mining prospection pits found elsewhere on Rowberrow Warren (PRNs21098 and 21099). These tree hollows or mining pits are recorded separately at PRN 21196.

An enclosure of similar size is located 97m to the west (PRN 10774) which is also possibly Iron Age or earlier Roman in date. Both enclosures may have been settlements or possibly stock enclosures. They may have been year round settlements or have been part of a transhumance system, seasonally occupied when stock were moved to higher ground.


OS map reference: ST 4644 5682. Nearest town/village: Shipham.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created in April 1983

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007

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