Ancient Monuments

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Three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries on Bearah Tor, 687m south west of Nodmans Bowda Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Hill, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5464 / 50°32'47"N

Longitude: -4.4511 / 4°27'4"W

OS Eastings: 226434.881839

OS Northings: 74722.122229

OS Grid: SX264747

Mapcode National: GBR NG.GVY8

Mapcode Global: FRA 17KM.9QH

Entry Name: Three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries on Bearah Tor, 687m SW of Nodmans Bowda Farm

Scheduled Date: 11 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010220

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15144

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: North Hill

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: North Hill

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes three adjoining Prehistoric linear boundaries situated
on the eastern spur of Bearah Tor on eastern Bodmin Moor, near a Neolithic
chambered long cairn and other broadly contemporary linear boundaries, field
systems and settlement sites and cairns. The monument is divided into four
separate constraint areas.
Each linear boundary survives as a bank of heaped rubble and boulders, up to
1.25m wide and 0.5m high, incorporating occasional edge-set slabs, called
orthostats, which project through the bank up to a height of 0.6m. The
boundaries' rubble core is only exposed through the thinner turf cover at the
monument's uphill, WSW, end; the remainder of the boundaries are visible as
thickly turf-covered banks with occasional projecting orthostats and larger
Two of the boundaries run on almost straight and parallel WSW-ENE courses,
135m-150m apart. They define a broad zone from the summit crest of Bearah Tor
to the gentler slope near the upper limit of modern pasture. Lengthwise, this
zone is centred on the ridge which runs down from the eastern rock outcrops of
Bearah Tor. The southern of these two boundaries extends over 340m, with two
breaks of 37m and 39m respectively where its course passes across natural
concentrations of boulders, one of which is disturbed by 19th century stone
splitting debris. The northern boundary extends over 240m, with one break of
34m, also over a disturbed boulder concentration. The third linear boundary
links the upper, WSW, ends of the other two boundaries, extending in a slight
curve for 133m NNW-SSE across the upper end of the Tor's ridge and passing 55m
east of the Tor's easternmost summit outcrop. This boundary has a short break
in its southern half occasioned by recent stone-splitting and its actual point
of junction with the southern boundary has been removed by the intrusion of a
small stone quarry. Despite this, the absence of both of these boundaries
from the undisturbed land immediately beyond that quarry indicates their
former termination at that point.
These boundaries combine to form a large scale zoning of the hillside whose
high-altitude siting, construction and layout is mirrored, beyond this
monument, by similar subdivisions located on the eastern spur of the Langstone
Downs from 600m to the south, while broadly contemporary settlement sites and
field systems occupy the valley between this monument and the Langstone Downs,
from 200m to the south. An earlier, Neolithic, long cairn is located among
those field systems, 280m SSW of this monument, while a round cairn is sited
around the eastern outcrop of Bearah Tor, broadly contemporary with and 55m
west of this monument.
The surface of the lightly rutted track, crossing the southern boundary 25m
before its surviving ENE terminal, 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. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone
banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called
orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high,
although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000-
700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes
along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from
that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of
land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set
aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently
linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field
system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social
organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the
existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived
are considered worthy of preservation.

These linear boundaries on Bearah Tor have survived reasonably well; despite
the limited effects of recent stone-splitting, their construction, layout and
relationship to the topography are clear. Their proximity to the earlier long
cairn and to the broadly contemporary linear boundaries, settlement sites,
field systems and cairns demonstrates, over a large area, the development and
organisation of land use and the nature of farming practices among Prehistoric

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988)
consulted 7/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2673 & SX 2674,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1397,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1427 & 1427.1,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1427,

Source: Historic England

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