Ancient Monuments

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Bowl barrow and round cairn on Withypool Hill, 850m and 820m east of Portford Bridge

A Scheduled Monument in Withypool and Hawkridge, Somerset

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Latitude: 51.0976 / 51°5'51"N

Longitude: -3.6578 / 3°39'27"W

OS Eastings: 284016.005848

OS Northings: 134451.822461

OS Grid: SS840344

Mapcode National: GBR L8.C567

Mapcode Global: FRA 3677.0TH

Entry Name: Bowl barrow and round cairn on Withypool Hill, 850m and 820m east of Portford Bridge

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1934

Last Amended: 24 February 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021262

English Heritage Legacy ID: 35971

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Withypool and Hawkridge

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument, which lies in two separate areas of protection, includes a
bowl barrow and a round cairn, both of prehistoric date, located on high
open moorland on a south-west facing slope of Withypool Hill. The bowl
barrow occupies a prominent position on the summit of the hill. Its
original profile has been modified by antiquarian activity and it survives
as a circular earth and stone mound which has several hollows dug into its
broad summit. The diameter of the mound is 20.5m and it is approximately
1.1m high. In common with other bowl barrows in the region, the mound
would have been surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried for
its construction. This ditch is no longer clearly visible at ground level
but will survive as a buried feature approximately 2m wide.
The round cairn which is located 50m south west of the bowl barrow,
occupies a gentle slope below the crest of the hill. It is formed by a
stone mound 3.5m in diameter and 0.4m high. The bowl barrow and round
cairn are sited close to a prehistoric stone circle, the subject of a
separate scheduling, which may have acted as a focus for their location.

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 others, Dartmoor and
Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little
excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal
Commission on the Historical Monuments of England 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 include stone settings, stone alignments,
standing stones, and burial mounds (`barrows'). Bowl barrows, the most
numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating to the Late
Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to
the period 2400-1500BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds,
sometimes ditched, 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 bowl barrows, varying in diameter
from 2m to 35m, have been recorded on Exmoor. Many of these are 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 -
whilst individual barrows 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 considerable variation in
form and longevity as a monument type 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 antiquarian disturbance to the bowl barrow's mound, the bowl
barrow and cairn located on Withypool Hill, 850m and 820m east of Portford
Bridge, survive comparatively well. They will contain environmental
evidence and archaeological deposits relating both to the monument and the
wider landscape in which it was constructed. In addition, they may be
associated with a nearby prehistoric stone circle of which there are only
two examples known on Exmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of Somerset Archaelogical & Natural History Society' in Somerset Barrows, , Vol. 113, (1969), 42
SS 83 SW 2, National Monuments Record,
SS 83 SW 53, National Monuments Record,

Source: Historic England

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