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Preston Cleugh

Fort (Prehistoric)

Site Name Preston Cleugh

Classification Fort (Prehistoric)

Alternative Name(s) Bunkle Edge

Canmore ID 58616

Site Number NT75NE 7

NGR NT 79566 59381

NGR Description Centre

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Bunkle And Preston
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT75NE 7 7957 5938

(NT 7957 5938) Fort (NR)

OS 6" map, Berwickshire, 2nd ed.,(1908).

Occupying the N end of a spur overlooking Preston Cleugh is an irregular fort of two phases.

The first phase consists of a double earthen rampart and ditch with counterscarp bank, on the W and S sides only, the N and E being defended by strong natural slopes. The entrance is on the W side.

The second phase included the construction of a stone rampart on the line of the inner rampart (and continuing around the N and E sides) and the partial recutting of the inner ditch to the S of the original entrance. A second entrance has been added to the E side and the original entrance retained. The interior is regular with no trace of huts. (RCAHMS 1915).

Resurveyed at 1:2500.

Visited by OS (JP), 17 September 1970.

The Society of Antiquities surveyors agree that the remains here are those of a two-phase fort, measuring 77m by 57m internally. However, they offer a different interpretation of the site, stating 'In the first phase there were two ramparts and a medial ditch with entrances on the E and W respectively; subsequently the ramparts were realigned at the W entrance, and another ditch with an external rampart was added on the NW, SW and S. There is at least one circular house site within the interior.'

RCAHMS 1980.

Site afforested.

Information from P Dixon, 20 August 1987.

AOC Archaeology Group carried out a watching brief on a trench excavated for the insertion of a cable across this Scheduled Ancient Monument in October 2000. The trench did not yield any significant deposits or artefacts of an archaeological nature.

NMRS MS/830/22

NT 7960 5930 Excavation of a 35m long cable trench, prior to the insertion of an underground cable across part of Scheduled Ancient Monument of Preston Cleugh Fort, found it to be devoid of significant archaeological features or artefacts. The trench was to the SW of the fort but in the Scheduled area.

Sponsor: Scottish Power plc.

M Cook 2000.


Field Visit (9 October 1908)

21. Fort, Prestoncleuch.

This fort (fig. 7 [DP 225487]) is situated at the east end of Preston plantation, 1 ¼ miles north of Preston village, 700 feet above the sea. A strongly fortified enclosure, bounded on the north and east by a slight rampart on the edge of a scarp which descends to a level terrace cut on the bank 6 or 8 feet below, and on the west-north-west and south by three parallel ramparts with two intervening trenches. The interior is sub-oval in form, measuring from east to west? 260 feet, and from north to south? 220 feet within defences measuring at the west side, from crest to crest of rampart, 106 feet. The bottom of the inner ditch is 10 feet below the crest of the inner rampart and 12 feet below that of the middle rampart, while the outer ditch is 12 feet below the middle and 9 feet below the outer rampart, which latter is about 5 feet high to the outside; the middle rampart is thus of slightly higher elevation than that around the interior. There appear to have been two entrances, one towards the north end of the terrace on the east, and the other at the west side of the fort. To the south of this entrance the top of the inner rampart is grooved for some distance, and the middle rampart has a platform in its rear. In the interior area are some depressions suggestive of hut circles. The interior is largely covered with a deep growth of heather.

RCAHMS 1915, visited 9 October 1908.

See Antiquities, xxix. p. 167 (plan and secs.); Ber. Nat. Club, 1894-95, p. 367 (plan and secs.); Christison, p. 354.

OS Map: Ber., x. SE.

Field Visit (30 August 1950)

This site was included within the RCAHMS Marginal Land Survey (1950-1962), an unpublished rescue project. Site descriptions, organised by county, are available to view online - see the searchable PDF in 'Digital Items'. These vary from short notes, to lengthy and full descriptions. Contemporary plane-table surveys and inked drawings, where available, can be viewed online in most cases - see 'Digital Images'. The original typecripts, notebooks and drawings can also be viewed in the RCAHMS search room.

Information from RCAHMS (GFG) 19 July 2013.

Note (29 January 2016 - 30 May 2016)

This fort is situated on a ridge forming part of Bunkle Edge, occupying the W shoulder of the steep-sided cleft taken by the A6112 public road. Heart-shaped on plan, it measures 77m from E to W by 57m transversely (0.47ha) within the inner rampart, which extends round the whole circuit, including the N flank and the flattened E end, where the ground falls away sharply into the cleft. This rampart is also accompanied by an external ditch, which forms a terrace on the slope in the cleft, while elsewhere, there is a second rampart with an external ditch and a counterscarp bank, forming a belt some 35m deep. On the WSW, however, terminating on the S side of the entrance on the W, the crests of both the inner and second ramparts split into two, almost certainly reflecting two periods of construction, in the later of which the line of the second rampart has clearly been pushed outwards, presumably as a device to not only increase the length of the entrance way, but also to increase the depth of the defences on the visitor's right side. The outer ditch and the third rampart also follow this outer line concentrically, implying that these too belong to this modification, which introduced a stagger in the terminals of the outer ramparts to either side of the gap. Thus In the earlier phase the defences probably comprised twin ramparts with a medial ditch, while a second entrance descending into the cleft on the E may have served in both. The interior is heavily overgrown with bracken and the traces of shallow circular depressions observed by James Hewat Craw about 1912 (RCAHMS 1915, 9-10, no.21, fig 7) can no longer be detected.

Information from An Atlas of Hillforts of Great Britain and Ireland – 30 May 2016. Atlas of Hillforts SC4052

Note (23 December 2019)

The location, classification and period of this site have been reviewed.

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding earthwork or monument.

Information from Scottish Borders Council


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