Five prehistoric round cairns and a ring cairn 920m NNE of Fernacre Farm


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


Ordnance survey map of Five prehistoric round cairns and a ring cairn 920m NNE of Fernacre Farm
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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 15176 80682

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.

Round cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 700 BC). They were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter but usually considerably smaller; a kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box- like structure of stone slabs called a cist, let into the old ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small groups or in larger cemeteries. Such groupings of round cairns may also contain ring cairns. These are ritual monuments, also dating to the Bronze Age, and comprise 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. Both round cairns and ring cairns provide important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age. These round cairns and ring cairn on the lower south eastern slope of Roughtor have survived substantially intact despite some stone-robbing at one cairn and minor hollows from antiquarian investigations. They display a good range of original features, including their overall linear arrangement, round cairns with variously inner and outer kerbing and incorporation of a ring cairn into the closely spaced line of round cairns. The diversity of cairn types and structures and the proximity of this group to other broadly contemporary ritual, funerary and settlement sites demonstrate the nature and variety of ritual and funerary practices and their relationship to farming practices during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes five closely spaced small prehistoric round cairns and one ring cairn, forming the NNE sector 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. The six cairns which comprise this monument are arranged on an almost straight NNE-SSW alignment over 63m, spaced 5m-6.5m apart, except for one 0.5m gap separating two cairns. The round cairn at the NNE end of the group survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble and boulders 5.5m in diameter and up to 0.5m high. Relatively recent stone-robbing has removed the upper portion of the mound, above 0.5m high, revealing the northern sector of an inner kerb of edge-set slabs, 1m within the mound's perimeter, leaning inwards on the rubble and boulder interior. This cairn is separated by a gap of 5.75m from the second round cairn of the group which survives as an ovoid mound of heaped rubble 0.9m high and measuring 6m north-south by 5.5m east-west. An unrecorded antiquarian excavation has produced a central hollow 2m long north-south by 1m wide and 0.2m deep. The ring cairn is the next in the line, 6.5m to the SSW, surviving as an oval bank of heaped rubble and boulders up to 0.7m high and measuring externally 12m north-south by 9m east-west. The bank is up to 2m wide with several inward-leaning edge-set slabs surviving from an inner kerb along the west side. Traces of consolidated rubble around a ground-fast boulder slightly north of the cairn's centre are considered to derive from a central mound. The third round cairn of the group is situated 0.5m beyond the ring cairn's southern perimeter and survives with a circular heaped rubble mound, 4.5m in diameter and 0.6m high, with spaced slabs, up to 0.5m long, forming a kerb around the periphery. Unrecorded antiquarian excavation has produced a slight circular hollow, 0.75m in diameter and 0.1m deep, at the centre. The next round cairn is situated 5m to the south west, surviving as a circular heaped rubble mound, 4.5m in diameter and 0.5m high, from which a natural ground-fast boulder, 0.5m high, projects a further 1m in the south. The rubble mound has a slight antiquarian excavation hollow, 1m in diameter and 0.1m deep, located slightly west of centre. The SSW round cairn in the close- spaced part of the cairn group included in this scheduling is situated a further 6m to the SSW. It survives with an oval mound of heaped rubble, 0.3m high and measuring 5.5m NE-SW by 3.5m NW-SE, also with a slight antiquarian excavation hollow, 1m in diameter and 0.1m deep, at its south eastern end. These cairns form the NNE sector of a linear group of nine broadly contemporary small cairns arranged on an almost straight NNE-SSW alignment and extending beyond the monument for a further 215m along a slight crest in the valley side, c.150m west of the De Lank River. The other three 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,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.01,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.2,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.3,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.4,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.5,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.6,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3521.9,


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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