Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Old Barrow on Old Barrow Down

A Scheduled Monument in Withypool and Hawkridge, Somerset

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.0796 / 51°4'46"N

Longitude: -3.6561 / 3°39'22"W

OS Eastings: 284084.674401

OS Northings: 132446.753502

OS Grid: SS840324

Mapcode National: GBR L8.DCKZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 3678.FGP

Entry Name: Old Barrow on Old Barrow Down

Scheduled Date: 1 November 1934

Last Amended: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021356

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33076

County: Somerset

Civil Parish: Withypool and Hawkridge

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset


The monument includes Old Barrow, a bowl barrow located on the summit of
Old Barrow Down. The barrow occupies a prominent and lofty position with
extensive views in all directions including eastward across the valley of
the River Barle.
The barrow, which is of prehistoric date, is formed by a circular
bowl-shaped mound of earth and stone with recorded dimensions in 1995 of
1.2m in height and 20.9m in diameter. The mound has been disturbed by two
circular cuttings which have left depressions 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep.
This disturbance may be the result of unrecorded antiquarian excavation in
an attempt to define a kerb within the barrow mound; this type of activity
has been noted elsewhere on Exmoor. In keeping with other barrows of
similar construction in the region the mound will be surrounded by a ditch
from which material was quarried during its construction. Although the
ditch is no longer clearly visible at ground level it will survive as a
buried feature up to 2m wide, giving the barrow an overall diameter of

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 the mound of the barrow having been disturbed by what is believed to
have been antiquarian activity, the bowl barrow known as Old Barrow survives
comparatively well. It will contain environmental evidence and archaeological
deposits relating to the monument and the wider landscape in which it was
constructed. Additionally, Old Barrow has been a significant feature in the
landscape ever since its construction as its place-name, which is probably of
Saxon origin, suggests.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 42
RCHME Exmoor survey, R Wilson-North, RCHME Field Investigation, (1995)

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.