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Iron Age
Cliff Castle
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800 BC - AD 43
Castle-an-Dinas   Castle-an-Dinas
One of the largest and most impressive hillforts in Cornwall, sited in an imposing position on the summit of Castle Downs with extensive and panoramic views across central Cornwall to both north and south coasts.
Castle Dore   Castle Dore
The defences consist of a circular rampart set within an oval one; both ramparts were constructed from material excavated from external ditches. The ditch to the inner rampart survives well but that associated with the outer rampart is now infilled on the west side of the earthwork.
Castle Pencaire   Castle Pencaire
Sited on the summit of Tregonning Hill, by tradition an abode of giants, this hillfort is oval in shape and defined by a pair of ramparts and ditches with entrances on both the east and west sides.
Chûn Castle   Chûn Castle
Sited on the summit of Chûn Downs this hillfort commands extensive views north and north-west to the Atlantic Coast and south towards Mounts Bay.
Helsbury   Helsbury
This hillfort comprises a single bank and external ditch enclosing an area about 140 metres in diameter. In places the inner face of the bank is visible and this shows that the rampart was built of dry stone walling.

At the top end of the hierarchy of later Iron Age settlement are the hillforts. Defined by one or, more usually, two or three imposing ramparts, these sites are interpreted as central places overseeing large tribal territories.

The ramparts may have been intended to impress rather than to have functioned as a defensive barrier as few signs of warfare ever come from excavation. They were constructed from around 500 BC and appear to go out of fashion in the years following the Roman Conquest.

supported by HLF and compiled by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council  
last updated: 05/09/2007