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
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
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
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,
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