MDE1248 - Myrtleberry South Camp (Monument)

Summary

The earthwork remains of a univallate hillslope enclosure has been formed by terracing into a steep slope. It is roughly rectangular and probably of Iron Age date, with seven internal platforms that may or may not be contemporary.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 74174832) Earthworks shown but not described. [1] Known as Myrtleberry South, this is a univallate hillslope enclosure of about one acre, immediately south of the junction of footpaths from Waters Meet and Higher East Lyn. [2,3] An Iron Age hillslope enclosure located on a slight shelf of a precipitous easterly hillslope.The uphill side comprises a strong bank and rock-cut ditch but the lower side is delimited only by the steep natural slope. There are two gaps in the rampart (on the north and south sides), both have been utilised by a probably modern pathway but the former appears to be original. The internal artificial level platform against the northern rampart probably indicates the habitation site. Resurveyed at 1:2500. [4] Myrtlebury South Camp covers an area of 0.6 hectacres. It is a sub-rectangular enclosure protected by a rampart and ditch on the longer west side and on the short north and south sides. The east side has no rampart but falls sharply to the Lyn Gorge below. The ditch on the west side is completely silted by wash from above. Otherwise ramparts and ditches are in average condition for the area. The site is an Iron Age hillslope enclosure. [5] SS 7416 4832. An enclosed settlement of uncertain period. The site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument, Devon No.710. [6] Site condition stable. The modern path cuts through the bank on the northern side of the enclosure, but a possible original entrance can be seen a little to the west of the modern break. In short grass at least five platforms can be seen in the interior: one in the northwest corner and the others in the southern two-thirds of the site, as well as a level central area, probably an open 'townplace'. I see no compelling reason for regarding this as an Iron Age site - it could as well be medieval (cf the Cadeleigh enclosures). [8] The settlement lies about 260 metres above sea level in thick deciduous woodland and overlooks Hoaroak Water some 400 metres south of its junction with the East Lyn River. The site has recently been cleared of some trees and scrub. It has been reseeded and is at present under short grass and bracken with a few deciduous trees within the enclosure. Set into a steep south-east facing slope the settlement is basically sub-rectangular in form oriented along the slope and it measures internally about 80 metres north-east to south-west by 35 metres, an area of some 0.25 hectares. The upper western side and the short north and south sides are formed by a bank with an external ditch. Where best preserved (central to the south side) the bank is 4.5 metres wide, 0.7 metres high internally and 1.6 metres high above the outer ditch which is 4.5 metres wide and 0.5 metres deep. Midway along the western side, for some 35 metres, the ditch is silted and now merges with the bank into the general slope. Along the eastern side excavated material from the interior has been dumped downhill to form a platform across the lower half of the enclosure marked by an outer facing scarp up to 5 metres wide and 2 metres high which merges at its base with the natural slope. A footpath runs along the eastern part of the enclosure through narrow gaps in the north and south banks near their eastern ends. At the northern gap there is a step in the bank which suggests that this was most probably the original entrance. Some 13 metres west of the gap, there is a lowering of the bank which Griffith [8] suggest was "a possible original entrance" however, there is no causeway over the ditch, no opposing break in the outer scarp and no evidence of erosion caused by usage so this is extremely doubtful. It is difficult to ascertain if the gap in the southern bank is an original feature widened by use over the years or a modern break. Internally there are seven identifiable platforms. One, at SS 7417 4833 is oval, 5m north to south by 3m with frontal and rear scarps, but mainly they are crescentic stone revetted frontal scarps built up against the steep inner scarp on the western side. They vary from 3 metres to 10 metres across and 0.3 metres to 1.4 metres in height and are most probably stances for buildings. At SS 74145 48292, set in the ground between two platforms, is an earthfast stone, 0.6 metres long by 0.2 metres wide and 0.2 metres high. Griffith suggests there is no compelling reason for regarding this as an Iron Age site and states that it could as well be medieval and refers to the Cadleigh Enclosures (SS 90 NW 10) for comparison. The steepness of the slopes here dictate that any enclosure would of necessity be constructed along the slope, that is long and narrow and hence tend to be rectangular. It is often a feature of hillslope enclosures, as in this site, to have this form of stronger boundary around the uphill side, more open downhill side and several internal platforms. So there appears to be nothing to preclude this from being an Iron Age settlement [8]. There is however nothing to prevent this site from having been reused at a later period, though no ground evidence was found to verify this.*Note: The settlement is not named on the Ordnance Survey plans, however the woods from which it takes its name are spelt "Myrtleberry" [9,10], so the spelling "Myrtlebury"' quoted in [6,8], would appear to be incorrect. Published 1:2500 Survey revised. [11] Generally as described by the above authority, except that the internal platforms may have been re-used in the context of charcoal burning. Surveyed at 1:500 scale, 20 July 1996. [14] On a slight shelf of a precipitous easterly hillslope. Uphill side comprises of a strong bank and rock cut ditch but the lower side is delimited only by the steep natural slope. There are two gaps in the rampart (on the north and south sides). Both have been utilised by a possibly modern pathway but the former appears to be original. The internal artificial level platform against the northern rampart probably indicates the habitation site. [16] Good condition. Most of the site under pasture and bracken but ends of crossbanks are covered with trees. [17] Small elongated enclosure which follows contours along steep slope. 7 platforms, mainly along west side. May have been used for charcoal burning. Non-defensive position, with good access to river, sea and high moor. Shares ridge with 3 other enclosures and proximity to Myrtleberry North Camp must have meant some association existed between them. [18] Prehistoric hill-slope enclosure at Myrtleberry South Camp. Sub-rectangular with rounded corners. Terraced into the hillside and defined on three sides by a single bank and ditch. The bank has an average width of 4.5 metres and is 0.7 metres high internally and 1.6 metres high above the external ditch which is around 4 metres wide. Ditch no longer visible over much of its length although it will survive as a buried feature and, where it is visible at the southwest and northwest corners, it retains a depth of 0.5 metres. The fourth and east side of the enclosure has been formed by excavated material from the interior having been dumped downhill to create a platform marked by an outer facing scarp up to 5 metres wide and 2 metres high which merges at its base with the natural slope of the valley side. The original entrance was probably on the north face where there are suggestive earthwork traces and a gap now occupied by a modern path; the gap which lies directly opposite in the south face may have been created to facilitate the path and could be totally modern. The interior of the enclosure measures about 80 metres northeast-southwest by 35 metres northwest-southeast, providing an area of about 0.28 hectacres in which there are at least seven identifiable platforms. Most of these platforms take the form of crescent-shaped stone-revetted scarps built against the inner west enclosure wall. Whilst they are considered to be building platforms it is not certain whether they are prehistoric, which is most likely, or evidence of a later phase of occupation. In studies conducted on this class of monument it has been noted that the majority of sites have a stronger boundary around the uphill side, a more open downhill side, and several internal platforms. All of these features are in evidence at the monument of Myrtleberry South Camp. [19] Placename 'Myrtleberry' not recorded in Place Names of Devon. [24] Myrtleberry North & South are in National Trust ownership. Myrtleberry South is located on an east facing slope and contains several platforms. NTSMR Nos 100257-9. [26] Due to the felling of some of the tree cover, the earthworks at Myrtleberry South are partly visible on aerial photographs of 1952 and 1995. The ditch is not visible from the air and the earthworks appear eroded. The visible earthworks have been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme. [27-9] A vegetation clearance programme was undertaken by the National Trust in 2008 to deal with scrub growth on the site. [30] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 4. [31] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 10. [32]

Sources/Archives (32)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 83.
  • <3> Article in serial: Whybrow, C.. 1967. Some Multivallate Hill-Forts on Exmoor and in North Devon. Devon Archaeological Society. 25. P. 9.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. F1 Fletcher, M. J. 07/11/1973.
  • <5> Index: Ancient Monuments. 1969. The Schedule of Monuments.
  • <6> Index: English Heritage. 1987. County List of Scheduled Ancient Monuments. Devon 18.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1976. 1:2500. 1:25,000. Sheet SS 7448..
  • <8> Unpublished document: Griffith, F. M.. 11/02/1989. Site Visit SS74NW 5.
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1888. Devon Sheet 3:14..
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904. Devon Sheet 3:14.
  • <11> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Sainsbury, I.S. 15/06/1994.
  • <12> Survey: Myrtleberry South settlement/ink survey . 1:2500. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <13> Collection: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Exmoor Project.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. Field Investigators Comment. Wilson-North, R. & Riley, H. 20/07/1996.
  • <15> Survey: Myrtleberry South/ink survey . 1:500. General: Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <16> Index: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1973. SS74NW 15. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. 15. 15.
  • <17> Report: Ellison, A.. 1977. Exmoor survey : Committee for Rescue Archaeology in Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset Aerial Photograph Survey. 12. 12.
  • <18> Monograph: Walls, T.. 2000. Earthwork Enclosures in North East Devon and their Late Prehistoric Landscape.
  • <19> Report: Salvatore, J. P.. 2002. Prehistoric hill-slope enclosure at Myrtleberry South Camp, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. 144552. 144552.
  • <20> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. LD 11-12.
  • <21> Monograph: Fox, A.. 1996. Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon. Devon Books. P. 45.
  • <22> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. P. 65-70, Fig 3.16..
  • <23> Index: Ancient Monuments. 2002. The Schedule of Monuments.
  • <24> Report: Thackray, D. + Thackray, C.. 1986. Lynmouth: Foreland Point, Countisbury Hill and Watersmeet, Devon. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. Site 100252. 7. P. 10.
  • <25> Report: Berry, N.. 2003. Archaeological and Historical Landscape Survey of West Lyn Farm, Lynton. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. P. 3.
  • <26> Report: Berry, N.. 2004. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of Kipscombe Farm, Countisbury. National Trust Archaeological Survey Report. P. 3.
  • <27> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/910 (F20) 3027-8. 17/10/1952.
  • <28> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 054-5. 12/03/1995.
  • <29> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <30> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2009. Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report.
  • <31> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <32> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7416 4830 (79m by 118m)
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/5
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 686
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20051
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO78
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW15
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • National Trust HER Record
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35182
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DV 710

Record last edited

Aug 19 2017 2:38PM

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