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

Bishop's Wood Hillfort

Promontory Fort


The smallest surviving hillfort in Staffordshire, Bishop's Wood is an Iron Age Univallate Promontory Hillfort located within that portion of the smaller, more northerly of the two coniferous plantations called Bishop's Wood that lies within the parish of Eccleshall, Stafford District. In fact the District and Parish boundary with Loggerheads Parish, Borough of Newcastle-under-Lyme runs along the western limits of the site.

The hillfort measures approximately 80m North to South, 50m East to West enclosing an area of roughly 0.2 hectares and sits at the South-Western end of a promontory. Close-set double ditches cut off the neck of the promontory and the inner ditch continues around the crest of the hill. A double bank and ditch facing North-East may mark the original entrance - though the modern roadway passes through the gap in the earthworks now. The defences continue for a short distance to the North as a scarped natural slope. A discontinuous outer line of defences has been added to strengthen where the natural topography is weakest. At the South-West a short stretch of ditch and bank defends the approach up the southern slopes of the promontory.

The site is not known to have been excavated but was surveyed by R.C.H.M.E. in 1988 as part of the Staffordshire Hillforts Project. A.H.A. Hogg lists this site as "Eccleshall Hillfort" in his Index of British Hillforts.

I have to say that despite there being public footpaths running through the wood this was not the easiest place to visit. The road leading to Bishop's Wood meets the B5026 Loggerheads to Eccleshall road near to Hookgate. (Look for a small sign on the opposite side of the B5026 pointing to the lane that reads "Fairoak Holiday Cottages - 1 mile"). There is a small cluster of houses and a farm at the head of the lane and this may be a public highway, however a short distance further on a sign states that the lane is a private road and no vehicular access is permitted without prior permission. The B5026 is a narrow but busy main road and not an ideal place to try and park and the lanes in the vicinity are very narrow. I can only suggest that you do what we did and park in Loggerheads and walk down to the site.

Follow the lane right the way down until you pass "Burntwood" Severn Trent Water station on the right. On the bend in the road just beyond that facilty there is a small metal gate with a spring-loaded catch that marks the start of the public footpath - ignore the direction the footpath fingerpost is pointing (it appears to have been knocked out of position and is now pointing straight at a tree trunk!) and instead follow the access track that winds through the woods. The track curves it's way around the base of the promontory that the hillfort sits upon. The whole site is aforested but ditches and banks are visible in parts.

Bishop's Wood Hillfort does not appear to be Scheduled.
BrownEdger Posted by BrownEdger
8th June 2013ce
Edited 2nd September 2014ce

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