Clovelly Dykes is one of the largest and most impressive hillforts in Devon. The hillfort is a classic example of a ‘multivallate’ hillfort with a series of ramparts that radiate from the inner, central enclosure. They were likely constructed in succession, over time. Archaeological surveys show that several wattle and daub roundhouses were situated in the inner enclosure, and given the size of the hillfort, were likely occupied by people of high-status, such as a clan chief.
Unlike other hillforts, Clovelly Dykes is sited on a coastal plateau and no natural, topographical defence. The sheer height, depth and number of ramparts offer protection whilst also possibly serving to enclose stock. It is thought that Clovelly Dykes was a tribal centre and a marketplace for the district.