MHG60939 - Fort - An Dun, Cornhill Wood


No summary available.

Type and Period (1)

  • HILLFORT (Late Bronze Age to Pictish - 1250 BC? to 900 AD?)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

This fort, which is simply indicated on the 6 in. OS map by the place-name 'An Dun', in Roman type, is situated on a ridge-like summit about 600 ft. high which rises from the right bank of the Orrin about half a mile NNW of Cornhill. The highest point of the ridge is at its W end, and from here it descends E for about 400 ft., with precipitous sides on the N and S, to the lip of the steep slope that falls in that direction towards the valley. About 100 ft. W of this lip the ridge is traversed by the innermost rampart of a system of defences which faces W towards the summit. The ridge here is about 90 ft. broad, and the rampart, which now consists of a mere rickle of stony debris with some traces of a built face showing on its W side, is 15 ft. thick on the axis of the ridge and markedly convex towards the W. Eleven feet outside the face of the first rampart the ground begins to slope upwards to the second, evidently another construction of stonework but largely overgrown; the actual inner edge of the rampart is 19 ft. outside the face of the first, while its crest, which is 5 ft. high, and its outer edge are, respectively, 7 ft. and 15 ft. further W. The crest of the second rampart is 3 ft. high. The second rampart crosses the ridge in the same manner as the first, and on the S side connects with another defensive bank which returns E to connect with the first rampart towards its S end. A third rampart, 9 ft. thick and 2 ft. 6 in. high, is met 11 ft. W of the outer edge of the second; this likewise spans the ridge, which is here narrowing, and returns E at its S end. In the returned portion two very large blocks of stone appear, one of them 5 ft. in length, and the outer face of the rampart is defined by a row of large rounded boulders. The extreme W end of the defensive system consists of a D-shaped enclosure which projects 16 ft. along the axial line beyond the W face of the third rampart. This is of slighter construction than the rest of the works, and is the only part of them in which any wall appears along the lip of the precipitous N slope. A local tradition states that this enclosure has been used as a burying ground. The foregoing account was prepared after an unavoidably hurried visit when the site was largely obscured by bracken; while it is probably correct in the main, many details may be wrong and a definitive description should be based on a proper survey. The general similarlity of this fort to the one on Craig Dhu, Kilmorack Parish, should be noted.
Visited by RCAHMS (AG) 3 September 1943.

This fort, which was first recorded by Angus Graham (RCAHMS) during the Emergency Surveys of 1943, occupies a promontory 80m E of the summit of An Dùn, where it lies within the southern part of Cornhill Wood at a height of about 230m OD. The promontory is defined by cliffs on the N and S and a steep slope on the E; on the W, where approach is easiest, three parallel walls have been drawn across the neck of the promontory, thus enclosing a roughly rectangular area measuring 52m from E to W by 29m transversely. The innermost wall measures about 20m in length and has collapsed to form a rubble spread up to 7m in thickness and 1.8m in height in which a line of outer facing-stones is visible 2m from the outer edge. This wall also appears to turn to the E at both ends, although it does not extend along either the N or S side. The second wall lies 4m from the first and comprises a grass-grown spread of rubble 5m in thickness and 1.2m in height, though the original thickness was probably nearer 2m. The third wall, which is situated 3m from the second, measures about 2.5m in thickness and 1m in height. The entrance to the fort may have been on the S, where the second and third walls stop short of the cliff-edge. No internal features were noted on the date of visit.
Visited by RCAHMS (GFG, JRS, IP) 28 February 2014. <1>

This fort is included in the Atlas of Hillforts of Britain and Ireland online database. See link below for site entry. <2>

Sources/Archives (2)



Grid reference Centred NH 4583 5196 (60m by 60m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH45SE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY
Civil Parish URRAY

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External Links (2)

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