MSO9087 - Long Wood Enclosure, Carhampton (Monument)


A subcircular Iron Age hillslope enclosure in Long Wood is defined by a bank up to 6.5 metres wide and 1.9 metres high above a strong outer ditch. It has an internal diameter of 40 metres, with three possible building stances.

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Type and Period (1)

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Full Description

Taunton Museum 6 inch notes a circular earthwork above Long Wood, Timberscombe. This is depicted on Savage's map [2] but is not mentioned in the text. It is a circular enclosure formed by a bank with a strong outer ditch situated at SS 9813 4038 on a slight northeast slope on the tip of the steep Long Coombe valley. There is an original causewayed entrance gap in the southwest, and a possibly modern gap in the northeast. It is smaller than the Gallox Hill earthwork (MSO9410) but comes within the category of the Quantocks - Exmoor hill slope enclosures of presumed Iron Age date. The earthwork is in a conifer plantation, but the interior has been planted with beech trees. Surveyed at 1:2500. [1,3] (SS 9813 4038) Earthwork (NR). [4] SS 981 403. Iron Age unvallate hillslope enclosure on Croydon Hill. The interior slopes down to the southeast and the earthworks have been damaged by forestry. (Visited by Burrow 4 April 1973). [7] Scheduled on 12 April 1994. [8] SS 98124038. A sub-circular, univallate hillslope enclosure located in Long Wood about 3.5kms south-west of Dunster. Longwood enclosure (also known as Long Wood Enclosure [9], or as Croydon Hill hillslope enclosure [5]), lies on a slight shelf at about 280 metres above Ordnance Datum, on the southern end of a stream flanked spur leading from Croydon Hill northeastwards to Longcombe Hill. This spur is covered by a coniferous plantation owned by the Crown Estate. The enclosure is not shown on the 1840 Tithe Map [10], but the area is named as `Broadwood Common' although the land use is unspecified. In 1887 the Ordnance Survey map [11] shows that the vegitation was rough pasture and brushwood which by 1902 [12] had become decidous woodland. By 1965 [1] this woodland had been felled and the area planted with conifers. By 1988 [13] the enclosure was still under woodland although the area broadly to the west had been cleared and ploughed. Since then the site has been cleared exposing the heather and turf covered enclosure, and the surrounding area has been replanted again with conifers which are presently 0.9 metres high. From the northwest, eastwards around to the northeast, the enclosure commands excellent distant views across the Bristol Channel to the South Wales coast. The rising ground of Croydon Hill restricts the view to the southwest and elsewhere the visibility is limited by trees. A metalled forestry track now skirts the east side of the earthwork and a lesser used vehicle track cuts across it from the northeast to the southwest. The subcircular enclosure is formed by an earth and stone bank constructed from spoil excavated from an external ditch. The enclosure bank is best preserved in the southwest where it is about 6.5 metres wide with its top some 1.9 metres high above the bottom of the ditch. The inner scarp here has a maximum height of 1.6 metres. In the south the bank turns more sharply forming a right angle. Around the eastern lower side the bank is not so prominent, probably due to silting from hillwash and its inner scarp is almost buried. It is partly eroded in places revealing an earth and stone core. Although silted, the ditch is well defined. It is generally about 4 metres wide and 1 metres deep, and has a flat bottom about 1.8 metres wide. The ditch has a low ill defined counterscarp bank, about 3 metres wide and 0.3 metres high, around the northern periphery. Its top stands a maximum of 1.3 metres above the base ofthe ditch and it is best seen around the break in the northeast. In the east the forestry track has encroached on the ditch largely destroying the counterscarp and leaving only slight vestiges to the east. There are two breaks in the enclosure bank. In the southwest side a gap in the bank, 2.7 metres wide with well-formed terminals, lies opposite a causeway across the ditch, 4.8 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. Although unusually situated on the uphill side of the earthwork this is most probably the original entrance. In the northeast, material from a break, about 4 metres wide, has ben used to fill the ditch unevenly obscuring its out scarp. The outer face of the counterscarp bank, although ill defined, is clearly unbroken across this break which suggests that it is a later feature. The gently sloping interior of the enclosure measures some 40 metres in diameter, an area of some 0.15 hectares. Although cleared it contains several tree stumps which also obscure parts of the ditch and counterscarp bank. Within the upper western side are three platforms, possibly stances for buildings, formed by crescentic scarps respectively 20 metres, 15 metres and 10 metres long and up to 0.5 metres high. Skirting the inner scarp of the bank around the eastern side are three amorphous areas of loose stones; one either side of the modern break and one near the south corner. They may have been caused by the tree felling operations but could possibly indicate sites of structures contemporaneous with the earthwork. Hillslope enclosures of this type are a feature of this area and are generally attributed to the Iron Age. However, this dating is somewhat tenous sites in the area include Bat's Castle (MSO9082) some 2 kilometres to the north with its companion site on Gallox Hill (MSO9410). There is also the recently discovered enclosure in Timberscombe Wood (MSO8313 ) about 2.5 kilometres to the west. [14-16] The enclosure described above was visible on several oblique photographs examined as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme in 2008. [17,18] Subcircular with a straight side uphill. Internal area of 0.15 hectares, enclosed by a bank and ditch. On downhill side these are 0.2 metres high and 0.25 metres deep; on the uphill side 1.5 metres high and 1 metre deep. On all but the uphill side there is a counterscarp bank 0.25 metres high. Main entrance from uphill is 4 metres wide. Opposite gap on downhill is 2 metres wide and may also be original. Inside the enclosure is a levelled subcircular platform, set against the western side. This is approximately 17 metres across defined by lynchets, with an entrance to the centre of the enclosure. The eastern edge of site is clipped by a modern track. Cleared of trees and included on circular walk, with interpretation board set inside. [20] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 11. [21] Further vegetation clearance work was needed in 2008/9 following clearance work in 2007/8. [22] The site was surveyed in May 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 11. [23] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [24]

Sources/Archives (24)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Miss M Hatch-Barnwell, Minehead.
  • <2> Monograph: Savage, J.. 1830. A History of the Hundred of Carhampton. Map..
  • <3> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 27 July 1965.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1974. 1:10,000 scale map: 1974. 1:10000.
  • <5> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgwater. David and Charles Limited. P. 87, 201.
  • <6> Monograph: Page, J.L.W.. 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor and the Hill Country of West Somerset: With Notes on its Archaeology. P. 203.
  • <7> Article in serial: Burrow, I.. 1981. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD. British Archaeological Reports. 91. P. 266.
  • <8> Unpublished document: English Heritage. 18.4.94. English Heritage to Somerset County Council.
  • <9> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Longwood on site information board.
  • <10> Map: 1840. Carhampton Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <11> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1887.
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. County Series; 2nd Edition (1st Revision) 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1902.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . AP 1988 65/88/138.
  • <14> Unpublished document: Chapman, H.P.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 December 1994.
  • <15> Technical drawing: Chapman, H. and Sainsbury, I.. 1994. Longwood Enclosure/ink survey . 1:1000. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <16> Collection: Sainsbury, I. and Chapman, H.. 1994. RCHME: Longwood Enclosure, Somerset.
  • <17> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9840/21 (21105/02) (9 February 2001).
  • <18> Archive: Toms, K.. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SE. MD002187.
  • <19> Article in serial: Dixon, J.. 1980. Somerset Parish Survey 3: Carhampton. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. P. 15.
  • <20> Report: Preece, A.. 1993-1994. English Heritage Monument Protection Programme.
  • <21> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <22> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2009. Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report. P. 10.
  • <23> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <24> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36926, Extant 17 May 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 9811 4037 (69m by 77m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO222
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11139
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9087
  • Land owned by Crown Estate
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE27
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36926
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): SOMER24016
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33446

Record last edited

May 17 2022 6:34PM


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