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North Stoke

Promontory Fort

<b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheatImage © A. Brookes (28.12.2013)
Also known as:
  • Littledown hill fort
  • Little Down

Nearest Town:Keynsham (6km WSW)
OS Ref (GB):   ST709688 / Sheet: 172
Latitude:51° 25' 0.93" N
Longitude:   2° 25' 6.64" W

Added by Rhiannon

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<b>North Stoke</b>Posted by juamei <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by thesweetcheat <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by moss <b>North Stoke</b>Posted by moss


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I visited this site back last summer.
Take the minor road off the A431 and drive into North Stoke village. (The road is a dead end) Park near the church and take the public footpath which runs through the graveyard and around the back of the church. Follow the path up the hill and the hillfort is on your right. Unfortunately, the whole site seems to be fenced off and I couldn't see any easy access points over the fence (it is also very overgrown by the fence). The views down the valley do however make the walk worthwhile.
Posted by CARL
16th June 2010ce


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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

This fort was probably a temporary defensive site in times of trouble. Though hillforts are thought of as iron age, they probably have a much longer lineage. It's iron age tag is underlined by the fact there were three barrows in the enclosed area, plus one outside by the entrance. There seems little respect by the later occupants of the earlier people. The "religious significance" of the bronze age barrows not even acknowledged. Its interesting to note that the west entrance lines up with a gap between the hills towards the west coast of Wales and the sea.
The area around here has been quarried for centuries, a substantial roman settlement half mile to the north probably took the stone down via North Stoke to the river.
The remains of a small stone hut at the foot of the west entrance may have been a 17th/18th c shelter for the people who quarried here, there are the remains of a further hut just by the gate under the escarpment of the fort. History jostles through the landscape not in a measured way but in a small series of reminders that past generations have also eked out their liveilhoods here..
moss Posted by moss
14th August 2005ce