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Three round cairns on the summit of Langstone Downs

A Scheduled Monument in Linkinhorne, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.5379 / 50°32'16"N

Longitude: -4.4633 / 4°27'47"W

OS Eastings: 225542.445144

OS Northings: 73795.703839

OS Grid: SX255737

Mapcode National: GBR NF.HKCF

Mapcode Global: FRA 17JM.YVW

Entry Name: Three round cairns on the summit of Langstone Downs

Scheduled Date: 26 June 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010309

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15086

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Linkinhorne

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Linkinhorne

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a linear group of three adjoining round cairns situated
on the summit of Langstone Downs near extensive areas of Prehistoric field
systems and settlements on eastern Bodmin Moor.
The cairns are arranged with their perimeters touching on an ESE-WNW axis on
the hill's summit. Each is constructed of heaped stones up to 1m across,
though mostly 0.5m across and smaller. The south-eastern cairn survives with
a peripheral bank, 17m in external diameter, up to 2m wide and 0.5m high. The
bank has several large edge-set slabs, called orthostats, leaning inwards
along its inner edge and occasional smaller vertical orthostats along the
southern half of its outer edge. Within the bank is a rubble platform, 0.3m
high, on whose northern half stands a mound of heaped rubble, spreading up to
the peripheral bank in that sector. The mound is 7m in diameter and stands up
to 1.75m high, with a hollow 1m deep in its northern side resulting from
modern stone robbing. The central and north-western cairns each survive as a
circular mound of heaped rubble, lacking peripheral banks. The central
cairn's mound is 17.5m in diameter and 2.25m high, with a stone-robbers'
hollow 1m deep in its northern side. A small oval shelter has been
constructed in the loose rubble at the top of the cairn; the shelter measures
5m by 3m and is 0.75m deep, probably used by medieval or later stock-herders.
The north-western cairn's mound is 16m in diameter and up to 1.75m high.
Although lacking robbing hollows, the rubble forming the upper surface of this
cairn has been re-arranged to create three small oval shelters in an east-west
line, each of similar size and depth as that in the central cairn.

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. Round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or
multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were
constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter
but usually considerably smaller; a kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds
the edges of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion
within a box-like structure of stone slabs called a cist, let into the old
ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as
isolated monuments, in small groups or in larger cemeteries. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides
important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social
organisation in the Bronze Age. They are particularly representative of their
period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of preservation.

This linear group of round cairns on Langstone Downs has survived reasonably
well. Despite the limited actions of stone robbers and herdsmen, the cairns
will retain many original features including burial deposits. Their proximity
to extensive areas of broadly contemporary field systems and settlement sites
on the southern flanks of Langstone Downs demonstrates well the pattern of-
land use during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Trahair, J E R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in A survey of cairns on Bodmin Moor, , Vol. 17, (1978)
consulted 6/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2573,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1398 & 1413,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1398 & 1416,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1413,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1464,
consulted 7/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1465,

Source: Historic England

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