MDE1273 - Undated circular enclosure on Hoccombe Hill (Monument)


A circular enclosure is 23 metres in diameter and defined by a stony bank 3.7 metres wide and 0.6 metres high. It may be a prehistoric funerary monument or a post-medieval tree ring enclosure.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

At SS 7868 4374, on the exposed ridge of Hoccombe Hill is a circular enclosure visible on the aerial photograph, but on the ground obscured by dense bracken. It is formed by a bank of stone and earth 5.0 metres wide overall and 0.6 metres high enclosing a circular area of 17.0 metres internal diameter. There is no sign of a ditch; the interior is flat and at natural ground level. There is a simple entrance gap 5.0 metres wide, on the east side, with a slight spread of stone across the gap which could be the result of spread or tumble, or a token blocking of the entrance, suggesting the possibility that it is an enclosed cremation cemetery, ring cairn or ring enclosure. Both the situation and the construction, where material has either been brought to the site or obtained by shallow surface scraping indicates a prehistoric origin. Surveyed at 1:2500 on PFD. [1,2] Centred at SS 7868 4374 is a circular enclousure 23 metres in diameter defined by a stony bank 3.7 metres wide and 0.6 metres high. There is no trace of a ditch. On the eastern side is an entrance gap 6.5 metres wide, which has been widened, and apparently damaged recently by a combination of animal wear and vehicle access. The interior of the enclosure is level and featureless, and has been extensively damaged by the use of animal feeders. This has resulted in areas of animal trampling and the presence of wheel ruts 0.25 metres deep. Damage has also been caused to the bank of the enclosure by animals passing over it to reach the feeders. A number of shells and pieces of shrapnel are visible on the bank, raising the possibility that the feature was used for training during WW2 (MSO7776) or possibly that such material was dumped here subsequently. [3,4] The enclosure described above is clearly visible on aerial photographs as a circular earthwork. Several other prehistoric monuments can be seen within a 500 metre radius of this monument, including two similar circular enclosures. Numerous impact craters are visible in the immediate vicinity of these monuments, presumably related to the Second World War Exmoor Firing Range, and indicating that the monuments may have suffered some damage. [1,5] A large built bank 0.75 metres high, the diameter to the ridge is 21.3 metres. There is a well defined entrance on east side. The regularity of the circle and the well defined profile suggest a fairly recent feature such as a tree ring, but an earlier date is possible. [9] As above. Some boulders inside the ring. [10] 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] The enclosure is depicted and labelled on 2021 MasterMap data. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 679-80 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 8 September 1976.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Best, J.E.. 1996. Badgworthy Environs/pencil survey. Pencil.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 26 April 1994.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK/1980 3072 (April 1947).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography.
  • <8> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7843b.
  • <9> Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. Worksheet, H Eardley-Wilmot and E Mold, 4 July 1981.
  • <10> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS 74 SE 30.
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35293, Extant 19 May 2021.
  • <12>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38718 ]

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/21
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12283
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20355
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO87
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE30
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35293



Grid reference Centred SS 7868 4374 (31m by 30m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

May 19 2021 3:51PM


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