MSO9191 - Prehistoric hillslope enclosure on Codsend Moor (Monument)


A circular hillslope enclosure, approximately 48 metres in diameter, is defined by a stony bank and contains roughly terraced platforms marking the probable sites of buildings. It is probably late Iron Age or Romano-British in date.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Circular enclosure with massive banks made from stone, 54 paces diameter. Cut not quite in half by 19th Century hedge bank with drainage ditches obliterating some of the banks. Doubtful entrance on southwest side. Sloping interior has a platform on the upper third - possibly a house site. Banks 1.5 metres high. Enclosure placed on terrace c2. metres high and is linked to nearby field system. [1] SS 869 408. A previously unrecorded hillslope enclosure on Codsend Moors with a ruined, roughly circular eroded stone rampart, was located from aerial photographs by Richard McDonnell and examined in the field. No entrance is visible but there are roughly terraced platforms within. The site is not shown on maps back to about 1800 and is crossed north to south by an early 19th Century enclosure wall. [1-5] Circular, hillslope enclosure situated at SS 8695 4070 within an area of enclosed moorland. Associated with a field system (MSO9193). This enclosure lies on a slight shelf on sloping ground midway down the south facing Codsend Moor. It has been cut into two unequal parts by the passage of a large, post-Medieval field bank with a ditch on both sides, running north north west to south south east down the hillside. A substantial field drain, embanked on its lower side, has clipped the north arc of the enclosure bank. Despite this damage the site is reasonably well preserved. The circuit is made up from a broad bank of medium-size stones (up to 0.20 metres in diameter) of local Devonian sandstones, prescribing a near circular course approximately 48 metres in diameter over the banks and enclosing an area just under 0.1 hectare. This bank was probably originally a constructed drystone wall of large proportions but is now spread to widths between 5.50 and 8.0 metres. In transverse section the bank is flat-topped or only slightly domed, with short scarps on both sides. Frequent pitting along the top attests occasional robbing of stone. On the north arc immediately west of the field boundary the bank stands 1.2 metres high internally, clearly in part due to terracing into the slope and 0.30 metres high externally. Around the remainder of the circuit the internal height varies between 0.15 and 0.50 metres and the external height between 0.30 and 0.80 metres. No clear entrance could be located. Gaps in the bank on the south west and east sides are irregular and accompanied by scattered stone, strongly suggesting that they are breaches. There is a 13 metre wide gap in the south arc where, save a small stone pile 3.40 by 1.70 metres, the bank appears to have been totally removed. Given the topography and aspect, an entrance is likely to have been somewhere on the south arc. In the north east part of the interior two scarps define a sub-circular area c. 14 by 12 metres. The north scarp is cut into the slope to a depth of c. 0.20 metres, the south scarp embanked to a maximum of 0.60 metres. There are traces of another scarp in the north west corner of the enclosure. These features form a platform in the north third of the enclosure and are probably the remnants of a building stance. The Codsend enclosure is typologically related to a large group of hillslope enclosures in South West England and there are good, local parallels. At Sweetworthy (MSO7356) are two enclosures of similar size, form, construction and topography, each with a single building platform. Another probable enclosure (MSO9203), has been discovered at the east end of Codsend Moor: it too is remarkably alike in size and plan. These enclosures are regarded generally to be of late Iron Age and Romano-British date. The enclosure is related to an extensive field system, MSO9193; their inter-relationships are discussed in that record entry. [6-8] The feature was transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Project under feature reference 36065 (MSO9193). [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. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. R McDonnell, Site visit report for CRAAGS, 21 January 1981.
  • <2> Serial: Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 1851-. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. Volume 122 (1978), 118.
  • <3> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 8640.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. HSL/UK/71-177 Run 87, 8626 (September 1971).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA MAM IRFC 2246 (April 1982).
  • <6> Technical drawing: Pattison, P. and Sainsbury, I.. 1987. Codsend Moor Part 1/ink survey . 1:1250. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Pattison, P. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F1, 8 October 1987.
  • <8> Collection: Pattison, P., Quinnell, N.V., Fletcher, M. and Sainsbury, I.. 1987-1988. RCHME: Exmoor Pilot Survey, SS 84 SE, Somerset.
  • <9>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185. [Mapped feature: #43534 ]
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36031, Extant 14 March 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 8694 4070 (66m by 71m) Aerial survey
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11181
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE25
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36031
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33511

Record last edited

Mar 14 2022 12:15PM


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