MDE11742 - Prehistoric enclosure on Hollerday Hill (Monument)


A possibly prehistoric enclosure on Hollerday Hill, approximately 58 metres by 38 metres. It appears to have been disturbed by possibly 19th Century landscaping and is now covered by scrub.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 715 497. The remains of an enclosure on Hollerday Hill are visible on an air photograph taken from an airship in about 1920. [1,2] SS 7149 4972. This enclosure is situated at about 235 metres Ordnance Datum on a level plateau some 80 metres to the southeast of the summit of Hollerday Hill. It lies in an area partly enclosed before 1888 [3] but apparently was not ploughed. The enclosure is a roughly circular flat platform, approximately 45 metres in diameter and 1 metre above surrounding area. It has no bank or ditch. The 1946 aerial photographs [4] show that this area was covered by heather and rough grassland in which the fairly well defined circular enclosure is clearly evident. An apparently broad bank around its eastern side, may be simply caused by vegetation growth. The plateau is now covered by scrub, thick gorse and brambles, and the enclosure, apart from its northern periphery, is difficult to discern. The field survey revealed that it now consists of a flat topped subcircular area enclosed by an outward facing scarp; it measures 58 metres east to west by about 38 metres transversely. Where best preserved, on the northern side, the scarp reaches a maximum height of 1.7 metres and is up to 3 metres wide. At the eastern end, just to the north of a footpath that cuts across the northern interior, there are very slight traces of a possible inner scarp, 5 metres long, 0.1 metres high and 0.5 metres wide. It is here that the feature is best seen; a well formed section some 3 metres long appears to contain small stone. No trace of any ditch, outer scarp, entrance or internal features were identified. The remains are in a very poor condition, the southern perimeter is difficult to define being obscured by gorse, but the whole has a generally ragged irregular edge as if infilled by dumping. The few gaps in the gorse in the interior reveal the surface to be hollowed, uneven and contain smallish slatey stone, again all suggestive of dumping. The site may have been subject to an attempt at landscaping as the area belonged to Sir George Newnes the builder of Holiday Hill House at the end of the 19th Century. Dumping, or landfill, could account for its levelled appearance and dumping across the southern perimeter of the enclosure might also account for the present shape of the feature. At SS 7148 4969 aerial photographs show what appears to be a large rectangular ruined building north of a short wall projecting onto this south side of the enclosure. This wall which ends abruptly, is still extant but no trace of the building was found in the thick undergrowth. It is now difficult to be precise about the exact nature and date of this enclosure but its appearance and former shape, its topographical situation on the plateau, being prominent but not defensive; all suggest that it may be prehistoric. Surveyed at 1:2500. [5-7] The earthworks of the Hollerday Hill enclosure were transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme (NMP) survey. As described above the enclosure approaches 60 metres in diameter. The banks are very diffuse in appearance, probably partly due to the dense vegetation cover. Nonetheless, it was possible to map the general plan of the site and indicate the scale of the earthworks. The enclosure bank itself appears to be an average of 6 metres wide around the site, except for the northern perimeter which is less regular in form in the internal edge, possibly evidence of the landscaping and dumping seen during field investigation. [8,9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [11]

Sources/Archives (11)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . c. 1920 copy in possession of Dr ET Mold, 10 Longmeadow, Lynton, North Devon.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Ferrar, R.. 1986. Letter. 03/03/1986.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888. Devon Sheet 3(9).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 F20 3151-2 (11 July 1946).
  • <5> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1993. Lynton and Lynmouth, enclosure at SS 74 NW 78/Antiquity Model . 1:2500. Paper. Pen and Ink.
  • <6> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 27 October 1993.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR SS7050/1 RAF 58/2555 0225 (1 September 1958).
  • <9> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. QM 3-4 (15 March 1990).
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 926335, Extant 15 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7149 4972 (63m by 58m) Aerial survey
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 28428
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/141
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21016
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO354
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW78
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 926335

Record last edited

Mar 1 2022 11:49AM


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