Please Wait - Compiling Details.

<< Back to Query / Map page

Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Record transferred to Exmoor National Park
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Black Ball Camp: a later prehistoric defended settlement on Gallox Hill [No:24003]
Civil Parish: Dunster
PRN 35330Record transferred to Exmoor National Park
Grid Ref: SS 9843 4265 (SS 94 SE)
  Show location (Requires Flash)
Image: Image of HER 33565 - Photo by Somerset County Council (26 March 1984)
  HER 33565 - Photo by Somerset County Council (26 March 1984)

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown. Please assume that this site is private property and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 16 December 2002]


This site, formerly Black Ball Camp, Gallox Hill, Dunster has been transferred to the Exmoor National Park HER. The details below are those that were transferred and have not been updated. {1}

Circular camp about 120 yards in diameter SSW of Dunster. Surrounded by a bank of stones and earth with an outer ditch and also, for about a third of the circumference on the W side, a low bank on the counterscarp of the ditch Entrance is on the SW and on the left hand side the bank turns inwards with indications of a circular breastwork or tower showing in foundations. {2}

Moderately strong Iron age earthwork situated on a western slope. Univallate with a counterscarp bank which is strongest on the downhill side and continues for some 50m on the NE. Modern disturbance of the W side of the inturned entrance and no original circular structure can be seen. {3}

Ditch generally 2m deep and bank 3m high. Counterscarp bank on the NW side The entrance is on the SW side, opening towards the steepest approach. The area around the entrance gap is disturbed. {4}

Regarded as being an outwork of Bats Castle, 600m to the SE (PRN 33442). {5}

AP may show ploughing of the interior. {6}

Features disturbed - bank and ditch impressive. Interior diameter 72m Entrance and causeway clear. Loose stone nearby. Interior uneven but possible hut circle is visible. {7}

Also bank forming small enclosure to the W of the camp. {11}

Bank most impressive on the W side. There are trees and shrubs on the banks and in the ditches. Stone is exposed in several places. The entrance area disturbed but forms a definite inturn. The interior is also disturbed by vegetation, rabbits and ant hills. No real earthwork evidence for ridge and furrow but the vegetation may be hiding it. Good vegetation cover of grass, heather and bracken with some small trees. There is a possible hut circle in the SE corner near the entrance. {17}

Scheduling affirmed with new national number 25.01.94 (old number was Somerset 172). {19}

Defended enclosure containing 0.3ha. of sloping land. Encircled by bank up to 1.9m high, external ditch up to 1.5m deep, and counterscarp bank up to 1.9m high on all but uphill side. Entrance from downhill on SW, approached by causeway across ditch, is inturned and askew. Inside the entrance on NW is a disturbed raised circular area, perhaps a guardhouse. Inside on SE is a hut circle 5m across, perhaps contemporary with the enclosure and overlain by slumping of the rampart at the back.

Stretches of low bank to the N of the enclosure (PRN 35329) are probably remnants of a prehistoric field system. Small enclosure to W seen on APs may be a quarry. {20}

Black Ball Camp is an oval univallate enclosure occupying a hillslope position overlooking the valley of the River Avill, at its junction with an un-named valley running north-south. The enclosure measures 100 m west-east by 80 m north-south and is defined by a prominent bank some 2.4 m high with external ditch 1.6 m deep and slight external counterscarp bank (on the south, west and north). It is covered in dense bilberry and heather, with some holly and hawthorn trees obscuring the ramparts. The interior is obscured by large numbers of ant hills. On the south-western side there is a single entrance defined by slight inturns on the rampart terminals and by a causeway 6.7 m wide. The causeway is very disturbed and has a hollow 6.5 m long and 0.5 m deep dug into it. On the northern side of the entrance, (within the enclosure) is a circular spread of stone 8.7 m across which has the superficial appearance of a platform, but is more likely to be a stone dump. On the southern side of the entrance is a platform 5 m across defined by a tussocky bank 0.3 m high and 1.4 m wide; this may be a hut stance. {21}


1 Compiler comment - Webster, CJ [Chris]. Somerset County Council, Historic Environment Record (4/1/2010). Location: Verbal, electronic or direct entry, no source retained
2 Description - Victoria County History of Somerset 1911 vol 2, 508
3 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division 1965 SS94SE4 (SCC Planning Department)
4 Description - Burrow, I. Hillfort and Hilltop Settlement in the First to Eighth Centuries AD British Archaeological Reports 91 (1981), 256
5 Mention - ARCH J Forde-Johnson, J 1964 "...and related hillforts..." vol 119, 86
6 Aerial photographs - NMR SS9842-S (WAP) May 1974
7 Detailed records - HBMC Field Monument Wardens report (SCC Planning Department)
8 Mention - Burrow, E.J 1924 "Earthworks and Camps of Somerset", 106
9 Mention - Page, J.W.L 1890 "An Exploration of Exmoor", 202
10 Aerial photographs - Slide (SCC Planning Department) 3.010.0707 March 1984
11 Mention - WAT Exmoor AP survey, 9842 (SCC Planning Department)
12 Aerial photographs - LHL CPE.UK.1980 3018 April 1947
13 Aerial photographs - HSL.UK.71-177 Run 99, 8804 September 1971 in Somerset Studies Library
14 Aerial photographs - WAP 20200
15 Aerial photographs - Slide (SCC Planning Department) 3.005.0036-0037 July 1979
16 Sketch plan - Victoria County History of Somerset 1911 vol 2, 508
17 Verbal communication - Dennison, E Somerset County Council 03.03.89
18 Aerial photographs -
19 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council 9.02.94
20 Detailed records - English Heritage Monuments Protection Programme fieldwork, Preece A, 1993
21 Data transfer - SS 94 SE 4. Site visit (7/4/1998)

Record created in June 1984

© Copyright Somerset County Council 2016