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Woodbury Castle


<b>Woodbury Castle</b>Posted by GLADMANImage © Robert Gladstone
Nearest Town:Budleigh Salterton (6km SE)
OS Ref (GB):   SY03308737 / Sheet: 192
Latitude:50° 40' 38.41" N
Longitude:   3° 22' 7.59" W

Added by johan

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Visited 23.10.2016

There is plenty of parking either side of the B3180 immediately adjacent to the hillfort.

There is a badly worn / vandalized information board at the edge of the car park, on the approach to the steps which take you up the inner rampart. From the bottom of the ditch I would guess it was perhaps 8m to the top of the inner rampart. From inside the hillfort the rampart was about 3m high in places. The whole area of the hillfort, both inside and outside the ramparts is covered with large, mature trees of various type.

It was a beautiful autumn day. An azure sky with the warm sun filtering through the reds, golds and browns of the leaves, which were falling like confetti over our heads.

I was really taken by this site, it was a really lovely place to visit. Particularly in weather as fine as today. In fact I would say it was even better than the not-to-distant and more famous, Blackbury Camp. This is no slur on Blackbury Camp (a fine site) but more a high recommendation of Woodbury Castle. In my humble opinion a 'must see' when in this part of the world. And it couldn't be easier to find and access.

The B3180 follows the contours of the ramparts as it passes through the site. Which leads to an obvious question - which numpty decided to build a road right through the site instead of around it?
Posted by CARL
23rd October 2016ce
Edited 23rd October 2016ce

As Mr Cane states, this excellent, deceptively small - yet powerful - hillfort is easy to find.... simply follow the B3180 heading south from the A3052 a little way east of Exeter, the enclosure well sited overlooking the estuary of the beautiful River Exe. Can't miss it (he says). Providing you refrain from following a turn-off to Woodbury and getting hopelessly lost. Stupid is as stupid does...

Anyway. Having (eventually) parked up in the large car park the scale of the defences of this hillfort are immediately apparent. It is also clear (from the information board plan) that the aforementioned B3180 is perhaps not as intrusive as I first thought, utilising the original north and south entrances to traverse the enclosure. How thoughtful. For once. The main body of the fortress is shaped roughly like a back to front capital B... with a squashed top bit beyond the road. There's also a further rampart covering the approach from the north. But enough of this technical jargon!

The southern section of the enclosure, easily accessed from the car park, appears univallate, the massive single bank complemented by a counterscarp beyond a very impressive ditch. Unfortunately ease of access is causing conservation issues here, the bank clearly suffering from the moronic attentions of 'mountain' (ha!) bikers, this despite numerous signs pointing out their endemic idiocy. No excuses, then. I block the passage of one upon the counterscarp and note the immanent lack of expression in his face. In short, Woodbury Castle is a local recreational amenity, albeit one I think (or at least hope) is substantial enough to cope. In common with the wondrous Blackbury Camp not too far to the east, Woodbury is lightly wooded (as you no doubt guessed from the pragmatic name), it being necessary to traverse the roots of some rather splendid trees in order to walk the rampart.

However, for me, the true joy of Woodbury lies across the busy B3180 [take care when crossing, please... it's rather dangerous] in the form of the 'squashed bit of the B' overlooking the estuary. This arc of the defences appears multi-vallate (I think) and is completely overgrown, fallen trees overlying the overwhelming inner bank. It seems very few come here.... the perfect spot for lunch, then.
6th May 2012ce
Edited 6th May 2012ce

Very easy to find as the B3180 passes straight through the middle of this handsome Iron Age fort. We happened to be staying about half a mile from here while working in Honiton and were vaguely aware of it's presence the first night of our stay as we drove through. The next morning gave us more tantalising glimpses as we made the return drive to Honiton with perfect low sunlight filtering through the copper coloured leaves of the beech trees on and within the banks of the fort. The fort itself sits just slightly atop a wild and open area of common land and the OS map shows evidence of a number of tumuli in the surrounding area but sadly, we never had time to investigate these. The banks which are quite substantial in places are made up largely of smooth rounded pebbles from an ancient river bed and a little further down the road from here is a company extracting the same material for aggregate. This area must once have been a large alluvial plain stretching between the River Exe in the West and the River Otter to the East. A great place to wonder around on a sunny autumn day with stunning views across the common in all directions A R Cane Posted by A R Cane
9th November 2010ce

First visited 19th June 2004CE.

We found no evidence of the car park marked on both the OS Landranger and Explorer maps on the north side of the fort.

The enclosure is bisected by the B3179 and there is a car park on both sides of the road on the southern side. The one on the eastern side of the road is right up against the ramparts so you can't miss the fort from there.

If you cross the road to the car park opposite there is a fantastic vista at SY031872 that overlooks the Exe valley estury, giving views of Exeter, Exmouth, and Dartmoor in the distance. Well worth a short walk.
hrothgar Posted by hrothgar
17th October 2005ce
Edited 17th October 2005ce

Visited Woodbury Castle (not a castle, nor really a hillfort) on a lovely April afternoon. Beware as the name Woodbury crops up in many places in Devon alone, and many more in other counties too.

This is a camped enclosure of impressive proportions set on a rise in Woodbury Common, north of Budliegh Salterton & Exmouth and South-East of Exeter. It looks like a camp that might have been fortified at one stage as the ditch is outside the bank. The bank is quite impressive in places and gives the inside of the camp a secluded feel. The camp itself has a host of trees inside, and also contains a well (encased in modern brick and iron) called Soldier's Well.

Well worth a visit if you are passing.

Posted by johan
2nd May 2002ce
Edited 5th September 2003ce


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Woodbury Castle

Page about Woodbury, includes an extract from Aileen Fox's "Prehistoric Hillforts in Devon", and a link to the Clinton Estate pages, which also have a page about the castle.
hrothgar Posted by hrothgar
28th December 2004ce
Edited 5th April 2007ce