The Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust
Historic Environment Record
 

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Pierce Wood Camps

Primary Reference Number (PRN) : 00773g
Trust : Glamorgan Gwent
Community : St Arvans
NGR : ST53259572
Site Type (preferred type first) : Iron Age Hillfort
Legal Protection : scheduled ancient monument

Summary :
The smaller and westerly of two camps on a promontory on the West bank of the river Wye. It consists of of a roughly square area enclosed on the West, East and South sides by a bank and on the North side by the natural scarp above the river.

Description :
The smaller and westerly of two camps on a promontory on the West bank of the river Wye. It consists of of a roughly square area enclosed on the West, East and South sides by a bank and on the North side by the natural scarp above the river.

One of two defended enclosures on the left bank of the River Wye at the top of the precipitous slope above the river. The Field Monument Warden report describes the site thus: PRN 773g (SAM Mm20a) is the smaller of the two and the more westerly one. It consists of a roughly square area enclosed on the west, east and south sides by a bank, and on the north side by the natural scarp above the river. The Wye Valley Path crosses its northern end, and then runs down its east side, just inside the bank. On the east side the bank is 1.5m high on the outside and 0.5m high on the inside at its southern end. Further north there is only a scarp which becomes a near-vertical drop towards the north end. On the south side the bank continues at 1.5m high, and there is a gap in the middle. The bank is higher to the west of the gap, c2m high, and continues round the west side where it gradually decreases in height to c 0.6m at its northern end. The interior slopes gently towards the south. Halfway along the north side is a standing stone 1.5m high, and next to the path on the east side is a small stone garden building, a grotto. This is a relic from the 18th century landscaping at Piercefield.
OS fieldworkers in 1957 noted the bank as averaging 8.0m wide with average external height of 3.0m and an average internal height of 0.4m, and the ditch (at the southwest corner and south end of the west side) as averaging 0.3m in depth. They also conjectured that the entrance was in the middle of the south side, where the break is 7.0m wide. Observations made during field visit for GGAT 1 suggests that 3m is a better estimate of max bank height than 2m.
No information on standing stone: this is probably more likely to be a post-medieval 'picturesque' feature. GPS reading not taken, as unreliable.
In what was previously a landscaped park, so deciduous trees which cover the site are intermixed with evergreen specimen trees, producing heavier cover than that on 00772g. Although site is crossed by the Wye Valley Path, which has partly destroyed the rampart at the east, it is not obvious from the path that there is an earthwork here and the site is not exposed to a great deal of visitor pressure. The Wye Valley AONB is considering providing some interpretation material, and if this is done, it could have the effect of increasing visitor erosion, particularly on the possible entrance and that part of the rampart not on the path. (Wiggins 2006)

Sources :
Wiggins, H , 2006 , Prehistoric defended enclosures in Gwent ( © GGAT)
01/PM List/Cadw/1996/Revised SAM List

Events :
E001503 : Field visit to Pierce wood camps (year : 2006)
E001550 : Prehistoric defended enclosures Gwent (year : 2006)

Related PRNs : 772G


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