Prehistoric embanked avenue and eight adjacent round cairns 750m ENE of Sparretts 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. Cleer
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 24382 72082
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.
Embanked avenues are ritual monuments which in all cases are associated with other classes of ceremonial and funerary monuments dating to the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age (c.2500 - 1600 BC). They each contain two near-parallel, open-ended elements, either in the form of stone or timber uprights or as banks constructed of stone rubble or earth, sometimes ditched. They range from 65m to 2.34km long and their courses are variously straight or sinuous. Excavations of this monument class have revealed associated stone- and post-holes and small pits, both within and outside avenues' boundaries, some containing burials, pottery, bone and flint or antler tools. The functions of avenues are poorly understood. Their consistently close association with, and respect for, other Bronze Age ritual monuments indicates a related purpose, while several avenues are directly aligned on stone circles. Under twenty avenues are known nationally, largely in central southern England together with the two examples on Bodmin Moor and isolated examples in Nottinghamshire, North Yorkshire and Northumberland. Of these, several are now destroyed, known only from antiquarian sources. As a very rare and long-lived monument type contributing important information on the diversity of ritual practices during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, all surviving avenues are considered to be of national importance. Both of the avenues recorded on Bodmin Moor are formed from stone banks, lacking ditches. Each major element of the Bodmin Moor avenues comprises either a single large bank or a formation of lesser banks forming contiguous sub-rectangular compartments within the linear element. End-set stones forming an edging kerb have been observed bordering both types of bank. The avenue on Craddock Moor is very well preserved and has not been excavated; it survives almost complete with only minor and limited disturbance at one end. It is the shortest recorded avenue. It is directly aligned on four nationally important stone circles to the ESE and lies within a wider group of differing and broadly contemporary ceremonial and funerary monuments on Craddock Moor, demonstrating well the diversity of ritual and burial practice during the Bronze Age.
The monument includes a Prehistoric ritual avenue formed by two straight,
parallel sets of stone banks together with a cluster of four small round
cairns at each end, situated on Craddock Moor on SE Bodmin Moor.
The embanked avenue comprises a complex linear formation of largely turf-
covered stones, arranged as two sets of twin parallel stone banks separated by
a level turf-covered area averaging 4m wide. The avenue is a total 65m long
on its WNW-ESE long axis by 14m across. The formations of banks on either
side of the avenue are each 6m wide. For much of their length on each side
they comprise low parallel banks of stone running down the long axis of the
monument, although on occasion these are replaced by short lengths of single
broader banks. At intervals, the narrow gap between the two banks in each
formation is subdivided by cross-walls, thereby dividing the gap into a series
of rectangular compartments. In several places breaks in the inner banks
allow access from within these compartments into the central clearing of the
At the SE end of the avenue, the formations of banks become twin terminals
with signs of kerbing around the ends. At the NW end the terminals have been
disturbed by a tin-mining pit, although there are suggestions of a terminal
bank on the southern of two terminals.
A group of four very small round cairns is located close to each end of the
avenue. The group at its WNW end is arranged in a straight line parallel to
and on line with the avenue's midline, and survives as four turf-covered
mounds of heaped small stone, each touching the adjoining cairns at each end
and ranging 1m - 4.5m diameter and up to 0.75m high. The group near the
avenue's ESE end comprises three small round cairns in a NE-SW line, centred
5m and 7m apart, with a fourth similar cairn centred 6m E of the central
cairn. These cairns range 2.5m - 3.5m diameter and up to 0.6m high, and are
also composed of turf-covered heaped small stones.
There is little evidence for disturbance to the monument since its
construction apart from a small tin-miners' prospecting pit at the WSW end of
the avenue's NE side and slight hollows from stone-robbing in four of the
cairns. The monument is situated in the floor of a broad valley close to a
small concentration of funerary cairns and lies towards the NW edge of an
extensive area of funerary and ceremonial monuments typical of the early and
middle Bronze Age (c.2000 - 1000 BC) in the Craddock and Rillaton Moors.
Within this overall area, the avenue's long axis aligns ESE directly towards
the Craddock Moor and The Hurlers stone circles.
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:
CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Fig 18:Unpubl.draft consulted 3/1991
CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey, Unpubl. draft text. Ch.4, 1.3, fig 17
consulted 3/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, AP transcriptions for SX 2471 and 2571,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1291,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1291.09,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1291.10,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1292,
consulted 4/1992, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription, SX 2472,
Darvill, T., Monument Class Description for 'Avenues', 1989, Release 00
Herring, P., The Archaeological Heritage of Bodmin Moor, Unpubl. draft consulted 3/1991
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