Two round barrows on Ridding Down


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002586

Date first listed: 14-Nov-1969


Ordnance survey map of Two round barrows on Ridding Down
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Cornwood

National Grid Reference: SX 58043 61208, SX 58045 61359


A ring cairn and round cairn 280m and 430m south of Tolchmoor Gate.

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are 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.

Despite partial early excavation the ring cairn and round cairn 280m and 430m south of Tolchmoor Gate survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronology, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes a ring cairn and round cairn situated on a gentle north facing slope of Ridding Down overlooking the valley of the Tory Brook. The ring cairn, to the north, survives as a circular bank defined by a kerb of stones on its interior edge surrounding a central flat area with a diameter of 15.6m. The bank measures up to 3.2m wide and 0.4m high. The round cairn, to the south, survives as a circular mound measuring 9.5m in diameter and up to 0.9m high. There is a circular depression in the centre of the mound indicating early partial excavation or robbing.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 721

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:-439312

End of official listing