Follow the history of Leigh Woods' Iron Age fort
We reveal the history of Stokeleigh Camp, an Iron Age fort in Leigh Woods. Discover who lived here and how, what they left behind for us to uncover and how we manage this area today.
This site provided a home for people for thousands of years, and is an outstanding example of a defended settlement. Built at a key vantage point in Leigh Woods overlooking the Avon Gorge, the location was ideal for the families who lived here.
Archaeological excavations in the 1960s revealed that people first lived in Stokeleigh Camp more than 2,300 years ago (late 3rd century BC) and remained for 400 years. It provided a home for people again in the 3rd and 4th centuries AD.
Discoveries in artefacts
The excavations found a variety of Iron Age and Romano-British objects including pottery, tools and animal bones. The remains of hearths and post-holes from round houses tell us how people lived in the hillfort.
A defensive fortress
Stokeleigh Camp is the largest of three Iron Age hillforts built to guard the approach to the River Avon. The two massive banks and ditches which can be seen here were built to protect people. These ramparts linked the steep slope of the Avon Gorge with Nightingale Valley and meant that the hillfort was defended on all sides.
Our work today
Staff, volunteers and contractors are clearing young trees and scrub to prevent tree roots damaging the archaeology and to restore wood pasture. We're helped by a small herd of Red Devon cattle which graze the area.
This project is a partnership with a local farmer and Natural England, which supports the work through a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. This scheme will help to protect the National Nature Reserve (NNR).