Prehistoric ring cairn 810m NNE of Fernacre Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Breward
National Grid Reference:
SX 15136 80574

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Ring cairns are ritual monuments comprising a circular bank of stones surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or boulders. Excavation has revealed the presence of pits, some containing cremation burials, within the central area. Ring cairns are contemporary with other Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) funerary monuments on the Moor. Although no precise figure is available, current evidence indicates that there are only between 250 and 500 known examples of this monument class nationally. As a relatively rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in form, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This ring cairn on the south eastern slope of Roughtor has survived substantially intact. The limited and well defined disturbance from the miners' leat and the break in its WSW sector have affected little of its bank and interior deposits. The presence of this ring cairn within a linear group containing other cairn types and the proximity of this group to other broadly contemporary ritual, funerary and settlement sites demonstrate the nature and diversity of ritual practices and their relationship to farming activities during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes a small prehistoric ring cairn, one of a linear group of cairns situated on the lower south eastern slope of Roughtor in the upper valley of the De Lank River on north west Bodmin Moor. A medieval tin-miners' water-course cuts through part of the cairn. The cairn survives with a circular bank of heaped rubble up to 9.5m in external diameter. The bank is up to 1.25m wide and 0.2m high incorporating occasional edge-set facing slabs, up to 0.7m long, along its inner edge. A medieval tin-miners' water-course, called a leat, passes across the northern sector of the cairn's bank in its WNW-ESE course to supply water to the tin- workings along the valley floor. The leat, visible as a slight ditch 1m wide and 0.2m deep, creates a break 2m wide in the northern part of the cairn bank. Another 2m wide break in the bank's WSW sector is considered to derive from an unrecorded antiquarian excavation at this cairn. Rubble removed from both of these breaks has been heaped onto the cairn bank's north western sector, creating an ovoid mound measuring 5.75m NE-SW by 5m NW-SE and rising 0.6m high, with an irregular upper surface with hollows up to 0.3m deep. This ring cairn is situated in the SSW half of a linear group of nine broadly contemporary small cairns arranged on an almost straight NNE-SSW alignment over 280m along a slight crest in the valley side c.150m west of the De Lank River. The other eight cairns, beyond this monument, also include a second ring cairn. The linear cairn group is located near other broadly contemporary settlement sites, field systems, funerary and ritual monuments on the slopes of Roughtor.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


1992, Carter, A/Fletcher, M J /RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription and field trace for SX 1580,
1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.8,
Carter, A/Fletcher, M J/RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions & field traces: SX 1380-1;1480-2;1580-1,


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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