'Incredibly rare' Iron age fort up for sale for £100,000

Plenty of history, wonderful views… might need a bit of work: ‘Incredibly rare’ Iron Age hillfort that was occupied by the Romans in 1AD is yours for £100,000

  • Hembury Fort Cross in Devon shows evidence of settlements at the site dating back to the Neolithic period
  • Four miles from town of Honiton, it is ‘in exceptionally good condition with a well-defined circuit of defences’
  • Constructed on site of a former Neolithic causewayed enclosure that’s between 7,000 and 11,000 years old 
  • Hembury was then used as an Iron Age Fort and a base for the Roman army in the middle of the 1st century AD 

An ‘incredibly rare’ Iron Age hillfort that was occupied by the Roman army in 1AD is up for sale in Devon for just £100,000.

Hembury Fort Cross, four miles from the town of Honiton in East Devon, is ‘in exceptionally good condition with a well-defined circuit of defences’, according to estate agents Savills. 

The site, which is at the southern end of a 240m high ridge in the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, has been managed since 2014 by Natural England’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

The scheme has carried out work to preserve and transform the fort and it is now available to purchase with the land extending to around 38.8 acres in total. 

Hembury Fort Cross has been dubbed ‘the finest prehistoric hillfort in Devon and the site shows evidence of settlements dating back to the Neolithic period. 

The fort was constructed on the site of a former Neolithic causewayed enclosure that’s between 7,000 and 11,000 years old. The enclosures are a type of large prehistoric earthwork common to the early Neolithic period and are seen as the earliest example of the enclosure of open space.

Hembury was then used as an Iron Age Fort and as a base for the Roman army in the middle of the 1st century AD. 

Hembury Fort Cross, situated around 15 miles from Exeter, Devon, is a scheduled monument listed with Historic England

The nearly 39-acre site on the Blackdown Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) could be yours for £100,000

According to the team that manage the site, Hembury was almost certainly chosen as a hillfort ‘for its natural defensive qualities and the views across the Otter Valley’.

Hillforts were built and occupied during the period from about 900 to 100 BC. During the Iron Age the country was divided into tribal territories and hillforts were used as defended settlements.

There have been two archaeological digs at the site, including one in the early 1930s by Dorothy Liddel and the other in the early 1980s by Malcolm Todd. 

They revealed evidence of the fort being used in the Iron Age and Todd’s later excavations showed evidence of a Roman military presence. 

Many of the artefacts found during these digs are now on display at the Royal Albert Museum in Exeter. The neolithic settlement was first discovered during the 1930s dig. 

The findings also suggest that the fort was occupied by the Belgic people after 50 BC, who occupied south central England. 

Hembury Fort Cross has been dubbed ‘the finest prehistoric hillfort in Devon and the site shows evidence of settlements dating back to the Neolithic period

They also occupied Maiden Castle, an Iron Age hill fort 1.6 miles south west of Dorchester, in the last generation before the Roman Conquest and occupied Hembury at a later date, probably only a few years before the Conquest.

Penny Dart, who is marketing Hembury Fort Cross for Savills in Exeter, said: ‘It is incredibly rare for a site of such importance to reach the open market.

‘A significant heritage asset, the landscape is also rich in ecological and environmental value. From the open heathland ridge, which offers outstanding views over Dartmoor and the south coast, mature woodland slopes away, providing fascinating woodland walks and a diverse habitat for interesting flora and fauna.

‘It is a fascinating opportunity.’

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