Whitestaunton Camp Hillfort, Howley, Somerset

Whitestaunton Camp hillfort comprises a single bank with a ditch on the NE side. On the W the hillside has simply been scarped. The entrance is on the E side towards the N end. In places the bank is as much as 12ft above the ditch.

Interior sloping fairly steeply down to the W. The defences are mostly tree covered and enclose on oval area c250m N-S by 120m E-W. Consist of a single bank with a wide flat-bottomed ditch in front. Bank up to 3m high on the E side and has a steep sharp profile which suggests the presence of narrow drystone walling on its summit. There is a simple entrance on the NE, but at the S apex a second entrance is formed by the rampart turning outwards and running S for c30m on each side of the entrance passage. Towards the S of the entrance there is a break in the banks on either side, probably of recent origin. On the W side of the enclosure the banks is just discernible from the interior though masked by hillwash.

In plan the field to the N suggests an annexe, but there is no possibility of this. Neck of the entrance is now used as a silage clamp causing some superficial damage.

Entrance on the E side considered to be recent.

Locally called Harbury, and marked Hamberry on the tithe map. Several dense pieces of slag in 5-10kg lumps were found at ST26430900. It is dark grey and has blow holes and run marks. The local farmer, Mr Edwards, also found slag further down the slope (PRN 57014).

Oval univallate hillfort 300m long and 150m wide. Interior slopes gently down to the W. Counterscarp bank on the W side. On the E side there is a Dutch barn by the trackway and here straw bales etc are encroaching across the ditch which is well preserved at this point. Along the E side the ditch is virtually free of vegetation, being very stony and much trodden by cattle. On the bank here there are only a few trees and poaching is evident. The main entrance on the S is blocked by a large stone heap c2m high which shows signs of being dug into on the S side. W from the entrance and N along the bank and ditch are particularly overgrown with bracken, bramble and saplings of sallow and hazel. Old oak trees crest the bank now almost down to the barn. All along there is much exposed stone and some movement down the steep slope to the W.

As before, some poaching by cattle.

Scheduling revised with new national number on 16/4/1999 (was Somerset 423).

The monument is in generally good condition with only one area of cattle poaching now apparent at the southern end of the eastern bank.

Management agreement between English Heritage and the owner from 18/2/2004 until 18/2/2007 for part of the monument.


OS map reference: ST 265 090. Nearest town/village: Whitestaunton.

Data kindly supplied by the Somerset Historic Environment Record.

Record created in August 1984

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2007

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