Ancient Monuments

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Round barrow cemetery south of New Barn Farm, associated with the Knowlton Circles

A Scheduled Monument in Woodlands, Dorset

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Latitude: 50.8858 / 50°53'8"N

Longitude: -1.9716 / 1°58'17"W

OS Eastings: 402092.066794

OS Northings: 109587.427584

OS Grid: SU020095

Mapcode National: GBR 420.DBZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 66RR.PQF

Entry Name: Round barrow cemetery south of New Barn Farm, associated with the Knowlton Circles

Scheduled Date: 15 October 1924

Last Amended: 5 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020582

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35211

County: Dorset

Civil Parish: Woodlands

Traditional County: Dorset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Dorset

Church of England Parish: Woodlands The Ascension

Church of England Diocese: Salisbury


The monument, which falls into eight separate areas of protection,
includes a group of 33 prehistoric round barrows which form a cemetery,
situated on gently sloping ground in the upper Allen valley, within the
area of Cranborne Chase. The round barrow cemetery lies to the south of a
wider complex of round barrows and henge monuments known as the Knowlton
Circles, the subject of a separate scheduling.
The round barrow cemetery has been reduced by ploughing, but many of the
barrows are known to survive as buried features known as ring ditches which
have been identified from aerial photographs whilst some examples survive as
upstanding earthwork mounds. The cemetery comprises a nucleated group, with a
dispersed group of eight barrows to the east.
The main cemetery has been reduced by ploughing, but the surviving barrow
mounds have dimensions of between 12m to 32m in diameter and between about
0.25m and 0.6m in height. Each mound is surrounded by a ditch from which
material was quarried during the construction of the monument. These have
become infilled over the years, but all survive as buried features. The
central barrow is likely to represent a disc barrow and is surrounded by an
outer bank, subsequently reduced by ploughing.
To the south east of the main group lies a large bell barrow which represents
the second largest barrow within the Knowlton complex. It includes a mound 30m
in diameter and about 2m high, surrounded by a berm or gently sloping platform
about 10m wide. The outer ditch has become infilled, but survives as a buried
feature about 1m wide. The remaining barrows outlying the main cluster have
all been reduced by ploughing, but can be seen as ring ditches on aerial
photographs. These indicate the survival of buried features.
All gates and fence posts which relate to the modern field boundaries are
excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number,
density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare
combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the
largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known
cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge
monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include
a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries
which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval
periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely
to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting
Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival
within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which
applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has
attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th
century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir
Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of
British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout
the 20th century and to the present day.
Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise
closely spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds
covering single or multiple burials - or ring ditches, visible only from the
air due to levelling of the mounds by cultivation in the historic and modern
periods. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often
many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the
early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite,
plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow.
On Cranborne Chase, round barrow cemeteries are associated with earlier
features such as long barrows, the Dorset Cursus, and henge monuments. Where
excavation has taken place around the barrows, contemporary or later flat
burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow
cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration
in Wessex, of which that on Cranborne Chase is significant. They are
particularly representative of their period, whilst their diversity and their
longevity as a monument class provide important information on the variety of
beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often
occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern
landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of
Cranborne Chase. All examples with surviving remains are, therefore,
considered to be of national importance.

Despite some reduction by ploughing, the round barrow cemetery south of
New Barn Farm survives as a combination of earthworks and associated
buried features and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence
relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The barrow cemetery includes a variety of barrow types, including some
rare examples and is associated with a group of significant henge
monuments at Knowlton to the north. The bell barrow within this monument
is one of about 250 examples recorded nationally.

Source: Historic England


Mention other ring ditches, NMR,

Source: Historic England

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