Information for record number MWA715:
Oakley Wood Camp, Oakley Wood, Bishops Tachbrook

Summary Oakley Wood Camp is an Iron Age univallate hillfort located 550m southwest of Tollgate Cottage.
What Is It?  
Type: Hillfort, Rampart, Ditch
Period: Late Bronze Age - Late Iron Age (1200 BC - 42 AD)
Where Is It?  
Parish: Bishops Tachbrook
District: Warwick, Warwickshire
Grid Reference: SP 30 59
(Data represented on this map shows the current selected record as a single point, this is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent an accurate or complete representation of archaeological sites or features)
Level of Protection National - Old SMR PrefRef (Grade: )
Scheduled Monument (Grade: )
Sites & Monuments Record
Picture(s) attached


Source Number  

1 An entrenchment in good preservation and of considerable size. It is on fairly level ground. The camp, roughly triangular in form, encloses an area of about 3.75 hectares. The defences, which are still formidable on the North side, consist primarily of a rampart, protected externally by a ditch; beyond this again are remnants in some places of a second rampart and ditch. There are further banks and trenches to be seen within the wood, which probably formed outworks to the main fort. The height of the ramparts at the North apex is 3.9m, with a breadth at its base of 8.8m; the ditch defending it measures 10.5m across.
2 1956. The wood has been cleared and the site replanted recently. A possible entrance was noted. At the Southeast corner and middle of the West side the defences are joined by boundary banks. At the latter point the rampart has been breached by the North ditch of the boundary bank, which is plainly later than the main work. 1969. This is a plateau fort. In construction the defences are typically Iron Age, with probable original entrances at East and West. No trace of outworks or outer rampart.
5 Banks and ditches are distinct and of considerable size. West sector: Bank 1.5m above dry ditch and interior. Northwest sector: Bank circa 2m above silty ditch, terminating at North apex in a mound circa 2.5m high. Northeast and East sectors: Banks much slighter, circa 0.75m above dry ditch. Small entrance halfway along East sector. Southeast corner: Bank discontinues here. Line of South bank continues East towards edge of wood.
6 The shape, location and structure of the earthwork are fairly anomalous. Although on top of a plateau the location is not obviously defensive. The shape is irregular rectilinear, unlike other Warwickshire hillforts, which are oval or rectangular. The 'hillfort' is part of a complex of ditched and banked enclosures in and surrounding Oakley wood. Each of the sharp corners of the 'hillfort' has an earthwork leading off towards a boundary earthwork that surrounds the wood. It seems possible that the whole complex, including the 'hillfort', is related to Medieval woodland management.
7 Field survey form suggests the site is possibly not a hillfort. A field visit indicated that the site is part of a complex of ditched and banked earthworks in and surrounding Oakley wood. Described as above.
12 The 'hillfort' is visible as earthworks on aerial photographs and has been mapped as part of the SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds HLS NMP project. The earthworks are now believed to be a probable Medieval boundary bank relating to woodland management (Warwickshire HER MWA 6201). Most of the bank and associated ditch are visible on at least three sorties of aerial photos where the trees have been cleared in places. The outer works mentioned in
1 were not visible, though these may relate to other Medieval boundary banks. There are gaps on the west and east sides of the enclosure but these appear to be gaps caused by later pathways through the wood. The earthworks were partially mapped as part of the NMP.
13 This monument includes a slight univallate hillfort situated on the upper west facing slopes of a ridge overlooking the valley of a tributary to the Thelsford Brook. The hillfort survives as an irregular pentagonal plan enclosure defined by a single rampart and largely buried outer ditch which is preserved differentially as an earthwork around the circuit. It is best preserved to the north and north west where the rampart bank has a maximum height of 2.5m, to the west the bank is up to 1.5m high, to the east 0.8m high and to the south although in places it stands up to 1m high the bank survives least well. The hillfort covers a total of some 4.7 hectares and measures up to 218m long by 198.5m wide internally. There are at least six gaps in the circuit, but of these only those to the north-east or east are presumed to be original. There are additional abutting field boundaries at the south-east, south-west and northern angles which some sources suggested were contemporary, but these are now thought to be later than the hillfort. The hillfort has also been identified as a possible Medieval woodland management feature, but most sources now believe it is early perhaps even Bronze Age in origin.

Source No: 1
Source Type: Bibliographic reference
Title: Victoria County History, vol 1, Warwickshire
Author/originator: Doubleday H A & Page W (eds)
Date: 1904
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 1
Source No: 10
Source Type: Correspondence
Title: Oakley Wood Camp
Author/originator: WM and others
Date: 1997
Page Number:
Source No: 12
Source Type: Desk Top Study
Title: SE Warwickshire and Cotswolds NMP Project
Author/originator: Amanda Dickson
Date: 2010-2012
Page Number:
Source No: 13
Source Type: Statuatory List
Title: National Heritage List for England
Author/originator: Historic England
Page Number:
Source No: 11
Source Type: Note
Title: Oakley Wood Camp
Page Number:
Source No: 9
Source Type: Plan
Title: Oakley Wood Camp
Page Number:
Source No: 2
Source Type: Record Card/Form
Title: OS Card 34NE2
Author/originator: Ordnance Survey
Date: 1969
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: 34NE2
Source No: 6
Source Type: Serial
Title: WMA vol 29 1986
Author/originator: Hingley R C
Date: 1986
Page Number: 56
Volume/Sheet: 29
Source No: 5
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: SAM list
Author/originator: DoE
Date: 1985
Page Number:
Source No: 3
Source Type: Scheduling record
Title: Oakley Wood Camp
Author/originator: Ministry of Works/DoE
Page Number:
Source No: 7
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: Welford and Bishops Tachbrook
Author/originator: Hingley R C
Date: 1986
Page Number:
Volume/Sheet: Field Survey Form
Source No: 4
Source Type: Unpublished document
Title: TBAS vol 86
Author/originator: Thomas N
Date: 1974
Page Number: 21
Volume/Sheet: 86
Source No: 8
Source Type: Verbal communication
Title: Aggregates Assessment
Author/originator: Stuart Palmer
Date: 2006
Page Number:
Iron Age hillfort, Bishops Tachbrook, Warwick
Copyright: Warwickshire County Council
Date: 1996
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Word or Phrase
none Scheduled Monument Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) are those archaeological sites which are legally recognised as being of national importance. They can range in date from prehistoric times to the Cold War period. They can take many different forms, including disused buildings or sites surviving as earthworks or cropmarks.

SAMs are protected by law from unlicensed disturbance and metal detecting. Written consent from the Secretary of State must be obtained before any sort of work can begin, including archaeological work such as geophysical survey or archaeological excavation. There are nearly 200 SAMs in Warwickshire.
source OS Card Ordnance Survey Record Card. Before the 1970s the Ordnance Survey (OS) were responsible for recording archaeological monuments during mapping exercises. This helped the Ordnance Survey to decide which monuments to publish on maps. During these exercises the details of the monuments were written down on record cards. Copies of some of the cards are kept at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. The responsibility for recording archaeological monuments later passed to the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments. back
source SAM List Scheduled Ancient Monument List. A list or schedule of archaelogical and historic monuments that are considered to be of national importance. The list contains a detailed description of each Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) and a map showing their location and extent. By being placed on the schedule, SAMs are protected by law from any unauthorised distrubance. The list has been compiled and is maintained by English Heritage. It is updated periodically. back
source TBAS Transactions of the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society is a journal produced by the society annually. It contains articles about archaeological field work that has taken place in Birmingham and Warwickshire in previous years. Copies of the journal are kept by the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
source WMA West Midlands Archaeology. This publication contains a short description for each of the sites where archaeological work has taken place in the previous year. It covers Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire. Some of these descriptions include photographs, plans and drawings of the sites and/or the finds that have been discovered. The publication is produced by the Council For British Archaeology (CBA) West Midlands and is published annually. Copies are held at the Warwickshire Sites and Monuments Record. back
technique Field Survey The term ‘field survey’ is used to describe all work that does not disturb archaeological deposits below the ground through an excavation. Field survey techniques involve recording measurements that help archaeologists draw plans or diagrams of archaeological features. There are a variety of different field survey techniques, including geophysical survey, building recording survey, field walking survey, landscape survey and earthwork survey. back
technique Earthwork Earthworks can take the form of banks, ditches and mounds. They are usually created for a specific purpose. A bank, for example, might be the remains of a boundary between two or more fields. Some earthworks may be all that remains of a collapsed building, for example, the grassed-over remains of building foundations.

In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky than during the other seasons, earthworks have larger shadows. From the air, archaeologists are able to see the patterns of the earthworks more easily. Earthworks can sometimes be confusing when viewed at ground level, but from above, the general plan is much clearer.

Archaeologists often carry out an aerial survey or an earthwork survey to help them understand the lumps and bumps they can see on the ground.
technique Aerial Photograph Aerial photographs are taken during an aerial survey, which involves looking at the ground from above. It is usually easier to see cropmarks and earthworks when they are viewed from above. Aerial photographs help archaeologists to record what they see and to identify new sites. There are two kinds of aerial photographs; oblique and vertical. back
period Bronze Age About 2500 BC to 700 BC

The Bronze Age comes after the Neolithic period and before the Iron Age.

The day to day life of people in the Bronze Age probably changed little from how their ancestors had lived during the Neolithic period. They still lived in farmsteads, growing crops and rearing animals.

During the Bronze Age people discovered how to use bronze, an alloy of tin and copper (hence the name that has given to this era). They used it to make their tools and other objects, although they continued to use flint and a range of organic materials as well. A range of bronze axes, palstaves and spears has been found in Warwickshire.
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period Iron Age About 800 BC to 43 AD

The Iron Age comes after the Bronze Age and before the Roman period. It is a time when people developed the skills and knowledge to work and use iron, hence the name ‘Iron Age’ which is given to this period. Iron is a much tougher and more durable metal than bronze but it also requires more skill to make objects from it. People continued to use bronze during this period.
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period Medieval 1066 AD to 1539 AD (the 11th century AD to the 16th century AD)

The medieval period comes after the Saxon period and before the post medieval period.

The Medieval period begins in 1066 AD.
This was the year that the Normans, led by William the Conqueror (1066 – 1087), invaded England and defeated Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex.
The Medieval period includes the first half of the Tudor period (1485 – 1603 AD), when the Tudor family reigned in England and eventually in Scotland too.

The end of the Medieval period is marked by Henry VIII’s (1509 – 1547) order for the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the years running up to 1539 AD. The whole of this period is sometimes called the Middle Ages.
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monument SITE * Unclassifiable site with minimal information. Specify site type wherever possible. back
monument BOUNDARY BANK * An earthen bank that indicates the limit of an area or a piece of land. back
monument BOUNDARY * The limit to an area as defined on a map or by a marker of some form, eg. BOUNDARY WALL. Use specific type where known. back
monument FEATURE * Areas of indeterminate function. back
monument UNIVALLATE HILLFORT * A hilltop enclosure bounded by a single rampart, usually accompanied by a ditch. back
monument FORT * A permanently occupied position or building designed primarily for defence. back
monument RAMPART * A protective earthen mound, often the main defence of a fortification. back
monument WELL * A shaft or pit dug in the ground over a supply of spring-water. back
monument FIELD * An area of land, often enclosed, used for cultivation or the grazing of livestock. back
monument DEFENCE * This is the top term for the class. See DEFENCE Class List for narrow terms. back
monument ENCLOSURE * An area of land enclosed by a boundary ditch, bank, wall, palisade or other similar barrier. Use specific type where known. back
monument WOOD * A tract of land with trees, sometimes acting as a boundary or barrier, usually smaller and less wild than a forest. back
monument TRENCH * An excavation used as a means of concealment, protection or both. back
monument DITCH * A long and narrow hollow or trench dug in the ground, often used to carry water though it may be dry for much of the year. back
monument STRUCTURE * A construction of unknown function, either extant or implied by archaeological evidence. If known, use more specific type. back
monument HILLFORT * A hilltop enclosure bounded by one or more substantial banks, ramparts and ditches. Use more specific type where known. back
monument MOUND * A natural or artificial elevation of earth or stones, such as the earth heaped upon a grave. Use more specific type where known. back
monument EARTHWORK * A bank or mound of earth used as a rampart or fortification. back
monument WORKS * Usually a complex of buildings for the processing of raw materials. Use specific type where known. back

* Copyright of English Heritage (1999)

English Heritage National Monuments Record