Alfred’s Castle, Oxfordshire, England.
A roughly polygonal univallate hillfort known as Alfred’s Castle situated c500m north west of Ashdown House. The earthwork defences consist of a single rampart bank which measures between 3m and 10m wide and stands up to 1.5m high. It was originally revetted with sarsen walls.
Two seasons of excavations by Oxford University have revealed Late Bronze Age origins to the site with a Roman building within the centre of the enclosure dating from the 2nd – 4th centuries AD.
Attached to the north of the enclosure is an elongated annex dated to the Late Bronze Age. The site has also been surveyed and mapped from aerial photographs.
Beyond the rampart lies a ditch which is believed to have been built as a series of lengths with gaps between them. The ditch sections measure up to 1.5m deep below ground level, with the drop from the top of the rampart to the bottom of the ditch being at least 2.5m. The ditch varies greatly in width, but its average would have originally been c.10m.
The area enclosed measures c.136m across and currently has three entrances situated on the north east, south east and north west corners. Only the south east entrance is certainly original and here is defended by further outworks consisting of a hollow way approach through a second rampart bank which survives as an upstanding, roughly triangular-shaped feature.
Within the interior are a series of features which appear to represent stone building foundations. However, it is unclear whether those which are visible represent the original buildings or a later reuse of the site. Excluded from the monument is the boundary fence which crosses the ditch, although the ground beneath is included.
|Dates:||Late Bronze Age|
|Access:||Free access to the public|
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*Extract from Oxford University Atlas of Hillforts