Tor cairn with adjacent sub-rectangular hut 650m SSW of Caradon Hill summit


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 26966 70186

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The quality and diversity of the evidence is such that the moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and hence it forms one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. Of particular note are the extensive relict landscapes of Prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date. Together these 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.

Tor cairns are ceremonial monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1000 BC). They were constructed as a ring bank of stone rubble, up to 35m in external diameter, sometimes with an entrance and an external ditch, and roughly concentric about a natural rock outcrop, or tor. A kerb of edge-set stones bounds the inner edge of the bank in some cases and the area between the bank and the outcrop was sometimes modified by laying down a platform of stone rubble or turves. Excavated examples have revealed post-holes and pits within the area defined by the ring bank, some containing burial evidence, and scatters of Bronze Age artefacts concentrated around the central tor. Tor cairns usually occur as isolated monuments, though several are associated with broadly contemporary cairn cemeteries. They are very rare nationally, with only 40 - 50 known examples, concentrated on the higher moors of Devon and Cornwall. Occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They provide important information on the diversity of beliefs, attitudes to the landscape and social organisation in the Bronze Age. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation. This tor cairn on Caradon Hill survives well, displays a good range of features and has not been excavated or otherwise disturbed to any significant depth; its importance is enhanced by its location within a cairn group containing a variety of different types of burial monument, demonstrating well the diversity of burial practice during the Bronze Age.


The monument includes an ovoid tor cairn with a peripheral bank and kerb, and a later sub-rectangular hut adjoining the cairn's S edge, part of a linear cairn group on a SSW spur of Caradon Hill, on the SE edge of Bodmin Moor. The tor cairn survives as a low ovoid bank, measuring 34m NE-SW by 27m NW-SE externally, 2-3m wide and up to 0.5m high, composed of heaped small to medium sized stones. The bank's inner edge is defined by a row of edge- and end-set boulders and slabs up to 1m high forming a distinct kerb around the N, E and S sides. Within the kerb is an almost level surface covering a thin platform, of compacted and largely turf-covered small to medium stones. The cairn's platform surrounds a natural granite outcrop, 22m long and rising to 2.5m above the neighbouring land on the crest of the spur, forming a clear natural spine along the cairn's long axis. The outcrop comprises weathered slabs, tilted to the SE with a scarp along its NW edge, and widens from 3m at the NE end to 11m at the SW. The cairn platform is represented on the outcrop's upper face by a discontinuous thin layer of compacted small stones. The S edge of the cairn's bank and platform has been modified by the insertion of a sub-rectangular hut of a form typical of early medieval stock herders' huts on Bodmin Moor. Externally the hut measures 6m N-S by 5m E-W, with rubble walls 1.5m thick and 0.5m high, probably of stone robbed from the cairn. No certain entrance is visible. Both the cairn and hut have been surveyed but neither has been subject to archaeological excavation. They lie near the centre of a dispersed linear cairn group that extends along the crest of a broad spur running SSW from Caradon Hill and contains nine cairns of several types typical of the Early and Middle Bronze Age (c.2000 - 1000 BC).

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:


Books and journals
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological and Management Survey, (1993)
consulted 1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 14073,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1359,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1411.06,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1411.08,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1411.09,
Consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1421,
consulted 3/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1422,
Release 00, Darvill, T, MPP Monument Class Description for `Tor Cairns' (Release 00), (1989)
Section entitled `Transhumance Huts', CAU/RCHME, The Bodmin Moor Survey (re: 'Transhumance Huts'), The Prehistoric and Historic Landscape,


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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