Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn 850m north east of Dunkery Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Cutcombe, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.1596 / 51°9'34"N

Longitude: -3.5726 / 3°34'21"W

OS Eastings: 290126.980841

OS Northings: 141213.114831

OS Grid: SS901412

Mapcode National: GBR LD.78R5

Mapcode Global: VH5K9.135W

Entry Name: Cairn 850m north east of Dunkery Bridge

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020829

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35582

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Cutcombe

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes a prehistoric cairn located in open moorland on an
east and south facing slope of Dunkery Hill. It is in a prominent position
with extensive views eastwards to Croydon Hill and northwards to Minehead
Bay. The cairn is formed by a near-circular stone mound with a maximum
diameter of 14m, and a height of approximately 1.5m from the east
elevation and approximately 0.75m from the western side. There is an
irregular depression at the centre of the mound which may indicate a
partial excavation in antiquity.

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 mound having been disturbed, probably in antiquity,
the cairn 850m north east of Dunkery Bridge survives 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 landscape, being located close to the main single-track
route through the open moorland across Dunkery Hill.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 30
SS 94 SW 17, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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