The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

North Stoke

Promontory Fort


Details of Hillfort on Pastscape

The earthwork on Little Down, North Stoke, is a single ramparted hillfort, triangular in shape with a curved base on the east consisting of a bank and ditch terminating at the north and south on the escarpment which falls away almost precipitously. The entrace is in the middle of the eastern side. (2-4)
There is a second, outside bank, south of the entrance. (5-6) Scheduled as an ancient momument. (7)
This is a promontory fort utilising strong natural defences on all but the east side where the wide, flat approach necessitates a strong defence. Here an irregular spread bank with outer ditch and in part a counterscarp bank, crosses the spur. The irregularity of the bank may have partially resulted from stone robbing. The ditch shows three stages of development, separated by the entrance way and a large bank dividing the southern half. South of the entrance the ditch is 2.4m deep, with a berm between it and the counterscarp bank, South of this the ditch is 1.7m deep, with a short section of counterscarp bank and berm, and becomes perceptibly shallower towards the natural escapement. North of the entrance the ditch averages 0.8m deep with no trace of counterscarp bank. The foregoing strongly suggests that the defence was never completed. The berm between bank and ditch could never have resulted from attempts at destruction and as an original feature it is without parallel in completed Wessex hill-forts. Surveyed at 1/2500. (8)
The gap in the centre of the eastern side is almost certainly modern, but there appears to be a sort of out-turned entrance at the north end of that side. An unpublished excavation by Mr Gardner of Kingswood School and the late F A Shore has proved that on the east side there was an outer bank and ditch, as described by Witts (3 above), though nothing of it is now visible. (9) Fort (NR) (10)
The interior of Littledown Camp is cultivated, the rampart is degraded and surmounted by a stone wall. Artifical defences are only present on the east side, the ditch here being up to 3m deep and the top of the bank about 4m from the ditch bottom. There are traces of a counterscarp south of the simple entrance at centre of the east side, and VCH (4) shows other earthworks, now destroyed by ploughing, north of this. Two building foundations, at the rear of the north and south ends of the east defences, were under plough when visited in 1973. No dating evidence was found but they are probably post-medieval agricultural buildings. (11) Additional references, plan, illus. (12)
Chance Posted by Chance
14th October 2012ce

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