Prehistoric linear boundary with adjacent stone hut circle, two round cairns and cairnfield 1.125km north of Wardbrook Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008897

Date first listed: 07-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric linear boundary with adjacent stone hut circle, two round cairns and cairnfield 1.125km north of Wardbrook Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Linkinhorne

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: North Hill

National Grid Reference: SX 25278 74283

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. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high, although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000- 700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived are considered worthy of preservation.

This linear boundary from the Langstone Downs to Bearah Tor is one of the longest Prehistoric linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor and has survived well and almost complete, with only one very minor break due to later activity. The extensive peat growth about most of its length will preserve details of its construction, together with land surfaces and environmental evidence contemporary with its construction and use. Its relationship with the cairn at its ENE end and its close proximity to other broadly contemporary settlement sites and cairns demonstrate well the nature and development of social organisation and land use during the Bronze Age. The importance of the linear boundary to more recent communities is evidenced by its adoption as the line of the parish boundary for most of its length.


The monument includes a Prehistoric linear boundary wall extending for 757m along the entire northern edge of the Langstone Downs summit plateau, rising to its eastern end at the SW outcrop of Bearah Tor on SE Bodmin Moor. A stone hut circle and small cairnfield are adjacent to the boundary in the central part of its course and two round cairns are adjacent to its terminal at Bearah Tor. The linear boundary survives as a bank of heaped rubble, up to 1.5m wide and 0.4m high, from which occasional end-set slabs, called orthostats, project to a height of 0.6m. The extensive peat growth along its high-altitude course has submerged its edges beneath turf for many parts of its course, and along the central third of its course it has become completely turf-covered, though still visible as a distinct bank. The boundary extends for 757m WSW-ENE in an almost straight line, curving very gradually to the north throughout its course eastwards. The boundary's western end is located on the NW crest of the summit plateau of the Langstone Downs, from where its course to the SW outcrop of Bearah Tor effectively defines the northern edge of the Downs from the broad marshy saddle extending north to Kilmar Tor. Its coincidence with this geographical divide has resulted in its adoption as the course of a parish boundary for much of its length. The ENE half of the boundary provides the focus for several broadly contemporary archaeological features, all well embedded in the peaty turf. A stone hut circle is centred 7m north of the boundary at a point 342m from its ENE end. The hut circle is extensively covered and surrounded by peat but is visible as a circular wall, 1.5m wide and 0.4m high, with occasional outer facing slabs visible through the turf, surrounding an internal area 5m in diameter and turf-filled to a depth of 0.2m below the wall's upper edge. Centred 170m from the boundary's ENE end is a group of four very small Prehistoric cairns, comprising circular mounds of heaped rubble up to 2m in diameter and 0.3m high. One of the cairns is situated on the boundary itself while the other three range from 2m to 10m from the boundary, occuring on each side over a distance of 18m along it. A larger round cairn is situated 9m SE of the boundary and 26m from its ENE end. This comprises an oval mound of heaped rubble measuring 3.5m NE-SW by 2m NW-SE and 0.2m high with a leaning orthostat 0.3m long at its NE end. Another much larger round cairn is situated along the northern side of the boundary at its ENE terminal on Bearah Tor. This cairn is also composed of heaped rubble whose mound forms a near semi-circular plan, measuring 10m ENE-WSW along its straight side, up to 5m wide and 0.3m high. The cairn's straight side is parallel with and 1m from the boundary wall. The odd shape of this cairn and the uniform clear gap separating its mound from the side of the boundary indicates that the boundary is the later feature which has cut through the previously existing funerary cairn. The trackbed of a dismantled railway, built in the mid-19th century to serve the Bearah Tor granite quarry, forms a cut 6m wide through the linear boundary 268m from its ENE end. The trackbed of the 19th century dismantled railway, the modern post-and-wire fence and the modern granite marker post with its stone base are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground beneath them is included.

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: 15131

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 155-174
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2574,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2474 & SX 2574,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1398 (NW edge);1274 (SE edge);1287,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1427.1,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1428,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1429,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1430,

End of official listing