Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn on Bossington Hill, 1.12 km north east of Lynch Mead

A Scheduled Monument in Selworthy, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.2264 / 51°13'34"N

Longitude: -3.5647 / 3°33'52"W

OS Eastings: 290838.570178

OS Northings: 148625.106248

OS Grid: SS908486

Mapcode National: GBR LD.34R1

Mapcode Global: VH5JX.5FCQ

Entry Name: Cairn on Bossington Hill, 1.12 km north east of Lynch Mead

Scheduled Date: 3 September 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020795

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35328

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Selworthy

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a prehistoric cairn located on Bossington Hill, a
steep coastal slope located between Minehead to the east and Porlock Bay
to the west. The cairn is situated in an isolated position on open
moorland on a north eastern slope of the hill, which overlooks the Bristol
Channel. The cairn is formed by a near-circular stone mound with a
diameter of 12m and a maximum height of 0.9m. The stone fabric of the
cairn has been exposed in a depression of approximately 4m by 1.5m located
at the centre of the mound and it is likely that the cairn was robbed of
stone in antiquity to provide material for the construction of field

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

Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south
western peninsula of England. In contrast to the other two areas, Dartmoor
and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and
little excavation of Exmoor monuments. However, survey work has confirmed
a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human
exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day.
Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later
prehistoric period, examples including stone settings, stone alignments,
standing stones, and burial mounds (barrows or cairns).
Round cairns are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period
to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period
2400-1500BC. They were constructed as rubble mounds which covered single
or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as
cemeteries, and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Over
370 barrows or cairns, varying in diameter from 2m to 35m, have been
recorded on Exmoor, with many of these found on or close to the summits of
the three east-west ridges which cross the moor - the southern escarpment,
the central ridge, and the northern ridge. Individual cairns and groups
may also be found on lower lying ground and hillslopes. Those which occupy
prominent locations form a major visual element in the modern landscape.
Their longevity as a monument type can provide important information on
the diversity of 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

Despite part of the stone fabric of the mound having been removed in
antiquity, the cairn on Bossington Hill, 1.12km north east of Lynch Mead
survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological deposits and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which
it was constructed. It forms a visual element in the open moorland being
located close to the South West Coast Path.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113 pt 1, (1969), 36
SS 94 NW 23, National Monuments Register,

Source: Historic England

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