Hoop Side round barrows


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002998

Date first listed: 16-Apr-1955


Ordnance survey map of Hoop Side round barrows
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Burcombe Without

National Grid Reference: SU 06271 29209


Three bowl barrows 1500m south east of Upper Hurdcott Farm.

Reasons for Designation

Cranborne Chase is an area of chalkland well known for its high number, density and diversity of archaeological remains. These include a rare combination of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age sites, comprising one of the largest concentrations of burial monuments in England, the largest known cursus (a linear ritual monument) and a significant number and range of henge monuments (Late Neolithic ceremonial centres). Other important remains include a variety of enclosures, settlements, field systems and linear boundaries which date throughout prehistory and into the Romano-British and medieval periods. This high level of survival of archaeological remains is due largely to the later history of the Chase. Cranborne Chase formed a Royal Hunting Ground from at least Norman times, and much of the archaeological survival within the area resulted from associated laws controlling land-use which applied until 1830. The unique archaeological character of the Chase has attracted much attention over the years, notably during the later 19th century, by the pioneering work on the Chase of General Pitt-Rivers, Sir Richard Colt Hoare and Edward Cunnington, often regarded as the fathers of British archaeology. Archaeological investigations have continued throughout the 20th century and to the present day. Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. 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. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. A cluster of at least 395 examples has been identified on Cranborne Chase. Some of these have been levelled by ploughing but remain visible from the air as ring ditches. Buried remains will nevertheless survive at these sites, both within the ditch fills and associated with the central burial pit. Bowl barrows are particularly representative of their period, whilst their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type will provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and constitute a significant component of the archaeology of Cranborne Chase. All surviving examples within this area are, therefore, considered to be of importance. Despite partial early excavation or robbing the three bowl barrows 1500m south east of Upper Hurdcott Farm survive well and from documents have long held a considerable importance as a land mark, they will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, relative chronologies, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 15 September 2015. This 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.

This monument includes three closely spaced bowl barrows arranged in a linear west to east alignment and situated on the top of an extremely steeply sloping escarpment called Hoop Side overlooking the distant River Nadder. The barrows survive as circular mounds surrounded by partially buried quarry ditches from which the construction material was derived. The western barrow mound has a flat top is up to 14m in diameter and 1.3m high with clear traces of a ditch of up to 2.5m wide and 0.3m deep on its western side. The central mound is 16m in diameter and 2.3m high with a flattened top and the slightest traces of a visible ditch and the eastern barrow is 18m in diameter and 2.6m high with a pronounced central excavation hollow. All three barrows are scarped into the hillside. These barrows are mentioned in a charter of 947 AD as ‘Thri Beorgas aet there Dune’ (three barrows of the down) and one is specifically named as ‘Ottes Barrowe’ in documents from 1567.


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

Legacy System number: WI 390

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape 213894
Wiltshire HER SO02NE620 and SU02NE621

End of official listing