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BRATTON CASTLE

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  BRATTON CAMP
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Bratton Castle (also known as 'Bratton Camp') is an Iron Age hillfort on Bratton Down, at the western edge of the Salisbury Plain escarpment. The hillfort is bivallate, possessing two circuits of ditch and bank which together enclose a pentagonal area of 9.3ha. The hillfort measures internally 430 metres east-west by 120 metres at the west end and 300 metres at the east end. The short west side and the long north side occupy the crest of steep escarpment slopes and the ditches are stepped one above the other, the rampart slopes rising 5 metres and 6 metres above the base of the ditches. The defences here span a total width of 30 metres. The south side of the hillfort and the southern half of the east side cross Bratton Down and here the twin ramparts are of roughly equal height and again 30 metres in total width. The northern half of the east side crosses the head of a re-entrant valley where the outer rampart and ditch have been largely destroyed by quarrying or landslips and the construction of a farm track. The short north east side straddles a narrow steep-sided ridge up which runs the Port Way. This passes through a possible original entrance, at which point the two ramparts have separated to form a small annexe, the outer ditch of which has, in places, been removed by quarrying. Quarrying has, in the past, also taken place within parts of the interior of the fort. The hillfort was one of the sites excavated by Jeffery Whittaker prior to 1775, which is thought to have been one of the earliest archaeological excavations to have taken place in Wiltshire. The excavation was poorly documented but it is believed that Roman and Saxon coins were found within the vicinity of the fort. The Westbury Whitehorse, a hill figure first documented in 1742, lies on the west side of the hillfort.

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