Ancient Monuments

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Barrows south east of Martinhoe

A Scheduled Monument in Martinhoe, Devon

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Latitude: 51.2187 / 51°13'7"N

Longitude: -3.9011 / 3°54'3"W

OS Eastings: 267326.2338

OS Northings: 148331.0767

OS Grid: SS673483

Mapcode National: GBR KY.3HK0

Mapcode Global: VH4M8.BMHL

Entry Name: Barrows SE of Martinhoe

Scheduled Date: 25 November 1977

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002647

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 974

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Martinhoe

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Martinhoe St Martin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Six bowl barrows on Martinhoe Common, 620m south west of Inkerman Bridge.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into six separate areas of protection, includes six bowl barrows situated on the northern part of Martinhoe Common on a prominent ridge overlooking Woody Bay. The six bowl barrows survive as circular mounds with buried surrounding quarry ditches from which material to construct the mounds was derived. The mounds vary in diameter from 5.5m up to 12m and from 0.4m to 1.1m high. At least three were excavated by Chanter in 1906, and were found to have been previously opened and all seem to have some form of early excavation hollow.

Further archaeological remains in the vicinity are scheduled separately.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include stone settings, stone alignments, standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows').

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Over 370 bowl barrows, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are found on or close to the summits of the three east-west ridges which cross the moor - the southern escarpment, the central ridge, and the northern ridge - whilst individual barrows and groups may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy prominent locations form a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period.

Despite early partial excavation and the effect of cultivation the six bowl barrows on Martinhoe Common 620m south west of Inkerman Bridge survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronology, social organisation, territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices and their overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England


PastScape Monument No:-34618

Source: Historic England

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