Ancient Monuments

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Causewayed enclosure and bowl barrow at Little Trees Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Stapleford, Cambridgeshire

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Latitude: 52.1548 / 52°9'17"N

Longitude: 0.1748 / 0°10'29"E

OS Eastings: 548878.310006

OS Northings: 252958.925788

OS Grid: TL488529

Mapcode National: GBR M98.WJ1

Mapcode Global: VHHKH.Z38F

Entry Name: Causewayed enclosure and bowl barrow at Little Trees Hill

Scheduled Date: 4 October 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011717

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24422

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Stapleford

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Stapleford St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Ely


The monument includes a causewayed enclosure and a bowl barrow, both situated
on a prominent chalk knoll to the south of the junction between the Babraham
Road (A1307) and Haverhill Road, some 500m to the south west of the Iron Age
hillfort known as Wandlebury Camp. Although no earthworks can be observed on
the ground, the causewayed enclosure is clearly visible from the air, and is
recorded on aerial photographs. The following description is therefore based
on the photographic record. The enclosure is roughly circular in plan with a
maximum diameter of 265m. The perimeter is defined by a segmented ditch which
encircles the hill by following closely the contour marking 60m above sea
level. This alignment is most clearly visible around the northern and north
western parts of the circuit, where it is composed of a series of ditches,
10m-15m in length and some 4m in width, separated by 2m-4m wide gaps. This
section of the perimeter is flanked both internally and externally by
interrupted alignments of dark material, thought to represent the remains of
banks formed from upcast material from the ditches. The south eastern arc,
which lies towards the base of a more abrupt slope, is less clearly defined
due to the effects of ploughing and soil displacement. On the western arc of
the perimeter there is an 80m wide gap, or major causeway, which corresponds
broadly with the location of a slight spur leading towards the summit of the
knoll. Two minor causeways, each less than 10m in width, are visible in the
most northerly section of the perimeter separated by a single ditch segment
measuring c.30m in length. These smaller entranceways are flanked by slight
inward extensions of the ditch terminals.
A trackway, orientated north west to south east, passes the foot of the knoll
on the north east side and partially converges with the boundary of the
causewayed enclosure. A 120m length of this trackway, which is defined by a
parallel arrangement of ditches separated by about 8m, is included in the
scheduling in order to protect its archaeological relationship with the
causewayed enclosure.
A bowl barrow is situated within the interior of the causewayed camp, to the
south west of the highest point of the knoll. This feature, which is thought
to indicate later, Bronze Age reuse of the Neolithic enclosure, comprises a
circular mound, approximately 25m in diameter which survives to a height of
1.8m. The surrounding ditch from which material for the mound was quarried has
become infilled over the years, although it can be traced as a slight
depression around the eastern and southern sides. The barrow, which apparently
remains unexcavated, now stands within a small area of woodland covering the
summit of the knoll. In the absence of this copse, the barrow would have
served as a conspicuous local landmark.
Further evidence of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age activity was revealed by
fieldwalking surveys conducted in 1979/80 and 1990/1 which identified a
distribution of flint tools and manufacturing debris concentrated on the lower
ground immediately to the north and north east of the causewayed enclosure
(with some examples located within its perimeter). A Neolithic flint arrowhead
was discovered on the summit of the knoll in 1970, and various other artefacts
including a polished stone axe and a scatter of worked flint were recovered
from an adjacent field (to the west of Haverhill Road) during the mid 1960's.
The southern side of Little Trees Hill (formerly known as Clunch Pit Hill) has
been considerably disturbed by a series of chalk pits excavated during the
19th century. These workings have removed parts of the original profile of the
hill together with any archaeological remains which may have been present. The
floors of these workings are therefore excluded from the scheduling, although
the edges of the pits (which will retain archaeological information) are
included. The wooden benches located on the upper slopes of the knoll are
excluded from the scheduling together with all fences and fenceposts, although
the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Between 50 and 70 causewayed enclosures are recorded nationally, mainly in
southern and eastern England. They were constructed over a period of some 500
years during the middle part of the Neolithic period (c.3000-2400 BC) but also
continued in use into later periods. They vary considerably in size (from 2 to
70 acres) and were apparently used for a variety of functions, including
settlement, defence, and ceremonial and funerary purposes. However, all
comprise a roughly circular to ovoid area bounded by one or more concentric
rings of banks and ditches. The ditches, from which the monument class derives
its name, were formed of a series of elongated pits punctuated by unexcavated
causeways. Causewayed enclosures are amongst the earliest field monuments to
survive as recognisable features in the modern landscape and are one of the
few known Neolithic monument types. Due to their rarity, their wide diversity
of plan, and their considerable age, all causewayed enclosures are considered
to be nationally important.

Although partially eroded by ploughing, the causewayed enclosure at Little
Trees Hill will have retained in good condition the deeper features within the
interior. The surrounding ditches, which survive as buried features, will
contain evidence relating to the construction of the enclosure and artefacts
illustrating its occupation and function. The significance of the monument is
enhanced by its association with an adjacent trackway, which will allow the
relationship between the enclosure and its setting to be analysed over time;
and by the presence of a bowl barrow within the interior which represents the
continuation of the site's use into the Bronze Age period. Its importance is
also enhanced by its accessibility to the public.
Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to
the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC.
They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which
covered single or multiple burials. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl
barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring
across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent positions, they are
a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable
variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important
information on the beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
The bowl barrow on Little Trees Hill survives in a very well preserved
condition, in marked contrast to the majority of barrows within Cambridgeshire
which are now only visible from the air in the form of cropmarks and
soilmarks. The barrow forms part of a wider group of barrows which extends
across the chalk uplands of North Hertfordshire and south Cambridgeshire. The
importance of the barrow is enhanced not only by its association with this
wider distribution of similar monuments, but also by its archaeological
relationship with the earlier causewayed enclosure in which it is situated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Cambridge Archaeology Field Group' in Magog Trust Downland Park, Surface Survey 1990/1, Phase 1, (1992)
'The Cambridge Antiquarian Society' in Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society, , Vol. 68, (1978), xiii
C.C.C Archaeology Section, 08903, (1985)
Coles, M, Correspondance with A. Taylor, (1990)
Compilation of photographic evidence, C.C.C Archaeology Section, 1:10,000: Aerial photography information, TL 45 SE,
Compilation of photographic evidence, C.C.C Archaeology Section, 1:10,000: Aerial photography information, TL 45 SE,
CUCAP, ACO 43, (1961)
CUCAP, AKR 8, (1965)
CUCAP, FE 10, (1950)
CUCAP, FE 11, (1950)
CUCAP, RC8-B 133, (1967)
CUCAP, RC8-B 134, (1967)
Ordnance Survey revision notes, Dickson, R, Barrow on Little Trees Hill, (1982)
Palmer, R :identification of site, CW, 05115 Little Trees Hill, (1985)
Record of stray find (1972), 05011, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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