REASONS FOR DESIGNATION
Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits. Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds. More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
The stock enclosure on Burr Tor is a reasonably well-preserved example of a rare class of prehistoric monument in which significant archaeological remains survive despite modern disturbance.
The monument includes the remains of an oval enclosure measuring c.400m from north to south by c.170m from east to west. Although similar in area and appearance to a promontory hillfort, due to the limited scale of the earthworks that formerly defined its east and south edges it is now believed to have been a Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age stock enclosure. These earthworks were described by Creswell in 1789 as comprising a double ditch, not very broad or deep. Later fieldwork, which includes a survey carried out by Hart in 1978, confirmed that the material from these ditches had been used to construct low banks in between. These banks are no longer visible as upstanding features because, in 1978, the ditches were infilled and the earthworks flattened to provide a level field for the Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club. The line of the earthworks is still visible from the air, however, and archaeological remains survive as buried features. Also in 1978, the interior of the enclosure was ploughed to bedrock but will nevertheless retain deepcut archaeological features such as post-holes, drains and trenches. On the west side, the enclosure is defined by a bank and berm or terrace which lies just below the crest of the steep face of Burr Tor. In c.1824, or at some time earlier, a carved stone of Bronze Age date was apparently found in the vicinity of the enclosure. The stone is finely carved with spiral designs on both sides and is now on display at Sheffield City Museum.
Book Reference - Title: 'Passage grave' style carved stone - Type: FINDS - Description: In Sheffield City Museum
Book Reference - Author: Challis, A.J. and Harding, D. - Title: Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne - Date: 1975 - Page References: 53 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: BAR 20, Part 2
Book Reference - Author: Hart, C.R. - Title: The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500 - Date: 1981 - Type: DESC TEXT
Book Reference - Author: Hart, C.R. - Title: The North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500 - Date: 1981 - Type: PLAN: MEASURED
Article Reference - Author: Barnatt, John and Reeder, P. - Title: Prehistoric Rock Art in the Peak District - Date: 1984 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 102 - Page References: 42 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Illustrated
Article Reference - Author: Creswell, ? - Date: 1792 - Journal Title: Archaeologia - Volume: 10 - Page References: 467 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: Published letter of 1789
Article Reference - Author: Preston, F.L. - Title: The Hill Forts of the Peak - Date: 1954 - Journal Title: Derbyshire Archaeological Journal - Volume: 74 - Page References: 1-31 - Type: DESC TEXT - Description: With plan