Possible Medieval Woodland Boundary at Oakley Wood
The site of boundary banks of Medieval date around Oakley Wood. The banks are so substantial that they have, in the past, been interpreted as the remains of an Iron Age hillfort.
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 ha. The defences, which are still formidable on the N 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 N 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 SE corner and middle of the W side the defences are joined by boundary banks. At the latter point the rampart has been breached by the N 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 the E and W. No trace of outworks or outer rampart.
3 Scheduled as Warwickshire Monument No 12.
5 Banks and ditches are distinct and of considerable size. W sector: Bank 1.5m above dry ditch and interior. NW sector c2m above silty ditch, terminating at N apex in a mound c2.5m high. NE and E sectors: Banks much slighter, c0.75m above dry ditch. Small entrance half way along the E sector. SE corner: Bank discontinues here. Line of S bank continues E 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.
9 Fieldwork revealed the supposed Iron Age hillfort to be part of a complex of ditched and banked earthworks linked to a boundary earthwork around the wood; it is possibly related to medieval or later woodland management.