MSO9410 - Black Ball Camp, Gallox Hill (Monument)


An Iron Age univallate hillslope enclosure on Gallox Hill in Dunster Park. It measures 100 metres by 80 metres, and is defined by a prominent bank with an external ditch, and a slight external counterscarp bank.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

A 'Camp' is marked at SS 9843 4265 on historic mapping. [1] Circular camp, about 120 yards in diameter, situated about 0.75 mile south-south-west of Dunster. It is surrounded by a bank of stones and earth, with an outer ditch, and also, for about a third of the circumference on the west side, a low bank on the counterscarp of the ditch. The entrance is on the southwest, and on the left hand, the bank turns inwards and there are indications of the foundations of a circular breastwork or tower. (Listed under 'Simple Enclosed Camps'). [2] Scheduled. [3] Black Ball Camp, a univallate Hillfort is under 3 acres. [4] This is a moderately strong Iron Age earthwork situated on a western slope. It is univallate, with a counterscarp bank, which is strongest on the downhill side and continuous except for some 50 metres on the northeast. There has been modern disturbance of the western side of the inturned entrace and no original circular structure, as described by Bothamley, can be identified. Re-surveyed at 1:2500. [6] SS 984426. Black Ball or British Camp. Iron Age univallate hill-slope enclosure visible on aerial photography, which shows ancient ploughing in the interior of the site. [7] The ditch is generally 2 metres deep and the bank 3 metres high. The counterscarp bank is on the northwest side. The entrance is on the southwest side, opening towards the steepest approach. The area around the entrance gap is disturbed. [8] The earthwork is regarded as being an outwork of Bat's Castle, 600 metres to the southeast. [9] A 'Settlement' is marked at SS 9843 4265 on historic mapping. [10] Black Ball Camp is an oval univallate enclosure occupying a hillslope position overlooking the valley of the River Avill, at its junction with an unnamed valley running north to south. The enclosure measures 100 metres west to east by 80 metres north to south ,and is defined by a prominent bank some 2.4 metres high with external ditch 1.6 metres deep, and slight external counterscarp bank (on the south, west and north). It is covered in dense bilberry and heather, with some holly and hawthorn trees obscuring the ramparts. The interior is obscured by large numbers of ant hills. On the southwestern side there is a single entrance defined by slight inturns on the rampart terminals and by a causeway 6.7 metres wide. The causeway is very disturbed and has a hollow 6.5 metres long and 0.5 metres deep dug into it. On the northern side of the entrance, (within the enclosure) is a circular spread of stone 8.7 metres across, which has the superficial appearance of a platform, but is more likely to be a stone dump. On the southern side of the entrance is a platform 5 metres across defined by a tussocky bank 0.3 metres high and 1.4 metres wide; this may be a hut stance. [16] The hillslope enclosure described above is clearly visible on aerial photographs, both vertical and oblique, examined as part of the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme. [18-20] The features are disturbed, but the bank and ditch are impressive, and the entrance and causeway are clear. The interior measures 72 metres. There is loose stone nearby. The interior is uneven, but a possible hut circle is visible. [21] Large ditch and banked enclosure with entrances on the west side and east sid noted on aerial phtographs. [23-24, 34-35] The bank is most impressive on the west side. There are trees and shrubs on the banks and in the ditches. Stone is exposed in several places. The entrance area is disturbed, but forms a definite inturn. The interior is also disturbed by vegetation, rabbits and ant hills. No real earthwork evidence for ridge and furrow, but the vegetation may be hiding it. Good vegetation cover of grass, heather and bracken with some small trees. There is a possible hut circle in the southeast corner, near the entrance. [26] A defended enclosure containing 0.3 hectares of sloping land. It is encircled by a bank of up to 1.9 metres high, an external ditch of up to 1.5 metres deep, and a counterscarp bank of up to 1.9 metres high on all but the uphill side. The entrance is from downhill, on the southwest, approached by a causeway across the ditch, which is inturned and askew. Inside the entrance on the northwest is a disturbed raised circular area, perhaps a guardhouse. Inside on the southeast is a hut circle 5 metres across, perhaps contemporary with the enclosure and overlain by slumping of the rampart at the back. [29] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 11. [30] Vegetation clearance was undertaken as part of the 2007/8 monument management scheme. Further work was needed in 2008/9 to concentrate on the interior of the camp. [31] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 11. [32] The site is depicted at SS 9842 4265 as earthworks on 2018 MasterMap data and labelled "Fort". [33] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [36]

Sources/Archives (36)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1911. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 2. P.508, CH Bothamley.
  • <3> Report: Ministry of Works. 1961. Ancient Monuments in England and Wales. P.82.
  • <4> Monograph: Ordnance Survey. 1962. Ordnance Survey Map of Southern Britain in the Iron Age. Ordnance Survey. P.45.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . St Joseph -CG/069.
  • <6> Unpublished document: PITCHER, GHP. 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 16 June 1965.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . West Air Photography (29 May 1974), NMR no SS 9842/2.
  • <8> Article in serial: Burrow, I.. 1981. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD. British Archaeological Reports. 91. P.256.
  • <9> Article in serial: Forde-Johnson, J.. 1962. Earl's Hill, Pontesbury and Related Hillforts in England and Wales. Archaeological Journal. 119. P.82, 86-7.
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1974. 1:10,000 scale map: 1974. 1:10000.
  • <11> Monograph: Allcroft, A.H.. 1908. Earthwork of England: Prehistoric, Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman, and Mediaeval. Macmillan (London). P.137.
  • <12> Monograph: Burrow, E.J.. 1924. Ancient Earthworks and Camps of Somerset. P.106-7.
  • <13> Article in serial: Dixon, J.. 1980. Somerset Parish Survey 3: Carhampton. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 15 No D4.
  • <14> Monograph: Page, J.L.W.. 1890. An Exploration of Exmoor and the Hill Country of West Somerset: With Notes on its Archaeology. P.202.
  • <15> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P.87, 201.
  • <16> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 April 1998.
  • <17> Photograph: 1963. Plan of Dunster Camp. OS63/F376/1. B/W.
  • <18> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3018, 4217-19 (11 April 1947).
  • <19> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 9842/50, 15864/30 (20 January 1998).
  • <20> Archive: Toms, K.. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SE. MD002187.
  • <21> Report: Various. Various. Field Monument Warden Report. Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission.
  • <22> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.010.0707 (March 1984).
  • <23> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS9842A.
  • <24> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. HSL.UK.71-177. Run 99. 8804 (September 1971).
  • <25> Photograph: Somerset County Council Planning Department. Slide. 3.005.0036-0037 (July 1979).
  • <26> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. E Dennison, Somerset County Council, 3 March 1989.
  • <27> Aerial photograph: Griffith, F.. 1980s-1990s. Oblique aerial photographs of the Devon part of Exmoor National Park. DAP/OF9, 10. DAP/QK9-11 SCED (1989, 1990).
  • <28> Unpublished document: English Heritage. Letter from English Heritage to Somerset County Council. 9 February 1994.
  • <29> Report: Preece, A.. 1993-1994. English Heritage Monument Protection Programme.
  • <30> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <31> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2009. Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report. P. 9.
  • <32> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <33>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap. [Mapped feature: #37796 ]
  • <34> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. CPE/UK/1980 3017, 3191 (April 1947).
  • <35> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. OAP WAP AP 1067/7,9.
  • <36> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36857, Extant 17 May 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Rejected)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE4
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36857
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33565



Grid reference Centred SS 9842 4265 (115m by 95m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (1)

Record last edited

May 17 2022 9:32AM


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