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Prehistoric linear boundaries, cairn and enclosure 1.225km north-west of Wardbrook Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Hill, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5411 / 50°32'28"N

Longitude: -4.4753 / 4°28'31"W

OS Eastings: 224701.4752

OS Northings: 74189.8446

OS Grid: SX247741

Mapcode National: GBR NF.H895

Mapcode Global: FRA 17JM.LBL

Entry Name: Prehistoric linear boundaries, cairn and enclosure 1.225km north-west of Wardbrook Farm

Scheduled Date: 7 August 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008982

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15135

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: North Hill

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Linkinhorne

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two Prehistoric linear boundaries, crossing each other,
one with an adjacent small cairn, and a rectilinear enclosure extending from
the junction between the boundaries. The monument is situated near other
broadly contemporary linear boundaries, hut circle settlements, field systems
and cairns on the north-western edge of the of the Langstone Downs on SE
Bodmin Moor. Each of the linear boundaries survives as a bank of heaped
rubble, up to 1.5m wide and 0.4m high, incorporating occasional edge-set
facing slabs and small end-set stones, called orthostats, which project
through the banks' rubble. One boundary forms most of the southern edge of the
monument, extending for 230m on a general east-west course, almost directly
uphill, but incorporating the numerous minor curves and angular irregularities
that also characterise other linear boundaries beyond this monument on this
hillside. The upper, eastern, end of this boundary curves round to the north
to define the eastern half of a near semi-circle, 20m in diameter. An original
break, 3m wide, occurs in this boundary 60m east of its western end; at that
point the banks at each side of the break are arranged to form a `T-junction'
with the gap at the centre. Another break, 7m wide, centred 55m from the
boundary's eastern end, occurs where it is crossed by the trackbed of a mid-
19th century mineral railway. The cairn is located adjacent to the southern
side of the boundary, 58m east of the original break. The cairn is visible as
a small mound of heaped rubble, 3m in diameter and 0.4m high, its northern
edge touching the boundary's southern side. The cairn has a slight hollow in
its top, probably resulting from an early unrecorded antiquarian exploration.
The southern end of the other linear boundary is located 28m SW of the cairn.
After an initial westerly course for 11m, that boundary turns NNW, crossing
the other boundary nearly at right angles after 22m, and extends for 97m along
the contour. Then it turns to the ENE and continues for a further 85m, giving
a total length of 193m. This boundary contains similar irregularities in its
course and its southern end is well-marked by small orthostats, forming a
contiguous row along this part of the rubble bank. Throughout its NNW-SSE
course along the contour, the top and the uphill side of this boundary bank
are masked by deposits brought down the hillslope under the combined effects
of Prehistoric cultivation and gravity, a process called lynchetting, giving
the boundary the appearance of a scarp up to 0.6m high. At both ends, the bank
merges into the hillslope deposits without any visible extension.
The enclosure is defined in part by the angle between the two linear
boundaries. It is sub-rectangular in shape, measuring externally 69m WSW-ENE
by 50m maximum NNW-SSE. Its southern wall comprises the western 70m of the
predominantly east-west boundary, while its eastern wall comprises 44m of the
other boundary, near the centre of its NNW-SSE section. Its northern and
western walls have rather straighter and slighter rubble banks, up to 1.25m
wide and 0.3m high. The eastern end of its northern wall curves away from the
linear boundary and enters a small but deep peat bog, which engulfs much of
its initial 15m, though stock trampling reveals its upper rubble. This
northern wall extends westwards for 69m, then turns sharply SSE to form the
enclosure's west wall. The west wall extends for 27m but stops 3.5m short of
meeting the western end of the linear boundary. A later date for the
construction of the enclosure than that of the linear boundaries is indicated
by the differences in character and construction of their respective walling
and also by the markedly greater scarping which occurs along the portion of
linear boundary forming the enclosure's east wall than along the adjoining
sections of the same boundary to both north and south. The character of the
enclosure's north and west walls, and the burial of part of its north wall
beneath a considerable peat deposit confirms that this sequence is wholly
The trackbed surface of the 19th century mineral railway is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been
recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The
Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the
best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of
prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human
exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The
well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field
systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains
provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land
use through time.

Enclosures are discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 750 BC). They
were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were
sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circle settlements
for farmers or herders. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary
considerably, depending on their function and date. Their variation in form,
longevity and relationship to other monument classes provides important
information on the diversity of farming practices at various stages in the
development of land use on the Moor.
These Prehistoric linear boundaries and their adjacent enclosure and cairn on
the Langstone Downs have survived well, the only disturbance comprising a
small and limited break in one boundary due to later activity and a minor,
unrecorded disturbance to the cairn. The relationship within the monument
between the linear boundaries and the enclosure illustrates well the
development in land use during the Prehistoric period. The build-up of soil
deposits by lynchetting and the development of an adjacent peat bog will
preserve valuable environmental information contemporary with and subsequent
to the monument's construction and use. The close proximity of the monument to
other broadly contemporary linear boundaries, settlement sites and field
systems demonstrates well the nature of social organisation and land use
during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 155-174
consulted 1993, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1263 & 1398 (cairn adjoining NW wall),
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2473 & SX 2474,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1398(NW wall); 1274(SE wall); 1287,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1274/1288/1465+1464 (=not a stone row),
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1428,
Qualification consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1264,

Source: Historic England

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