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Bowden Hill

Fort (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Bowden Hill

Classification Fort (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Bowdenhill

Canmore ID 47912

Site Number NS97SE 1

NGR NS 9775 7440

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council West Lothian
  • Parish Torphichen
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District West Lothian
  • Former County West Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NS97SE 1 9775 7440

(NS 9775 7440) Fort (NR)

OS 6" map (1968).

See also NS97SE 91.

This fort (R W Feachem 1963) a walled enclosure (R W Feachem 1965) was formed by a single stone wall, now much robbed, which ran round the summit of Bowden Hill, taking the best advantage of natural defensive features. It encloses a similar area to the fort on Cockleroy (NS97SE 9) and there is every reason to suppose that the two were contemporary.

It occupies a position of considerable natural strength, and the RCAHMS note the grass-grown ruins of the stone wall on the N of the hill, and the entrance on the E, the only line of approach. No trace of the wall was noted round other parts of the hill, but slight indications, suggestive of further work were seen on the highest point of the hill in 1926.

RCAHMS 1929, visited 1926; R W Feachem 1963; R W Feachem 1965.

This fort is generally as described, though very much bigger than Cockleroy, its form is similar. Within the fort on the summit of the hill is a sub-rectangular work consisting of a slight bank on the W side with a scarp on the N and S. The remains are so slight and bracken covered that it is impossible to establish their relationship to the fort.

Visited by OS (JLD) 5 December 1952 and (JP) 20 August 1974.


Note (4 September 2014 - 23 May 2016)

This large fort is situated on Bowden Hill. The defences comprise a single rampart, which extends along the E and N flanks of the summit area, while elsewhere the crags and steep slopes seem to have afforded sufficient protection, though a later plantation bank can be followed along the crest of the slope. The interior measures about 295m from E to W by 130m transversely (2.9ha). The only feature that can be seen within it are traces of the bank of a rectangular enclosure on the summit of the hill. There is a well formed entrance approached by a trackway on the E.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 23 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC1839


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