Long barrow north of Skelmore Heads, 300m NE of Woodside Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013962

Date first listed: 22-Jul-1964

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of Long barrow north of Skelmore Heads, 300m NE of Woodside Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: South Lakeland (District Authority)

Parish: Urswick

National Grid Reference: SD 27427 75402


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Long barrows were constructed as earthen or drystone mounds with flanking ditches and acted as funerary monuments during the Early and Middle Neolithic periods (3400-2400 BC). They represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment. Certain sites provide evidence for several phases of funerary monument preceding the barrow and, consequently, it is probable that long barrows acted as important ritual sites for local communities over a considerable period of time. Some 500 examples of long barrows and long cairns, their counterparts in the uplands, are recorded nationally. As one of the few types of Neolithic structure to survive as earthworks, and due to their comparative rarity, their considerable age and their longevity as a monument type, all long barrows are considered to be nationally important.

Despite some disturbance by a combination of unrecorded digging and limited excavation, the long barrow north of Skelmore Heads survives reasonably well. Bone and pottery is known to have been found here and further evidence of interments and grave goods will exist within the barrow and upon the old landsurface beneath. Additionally the barrow is an unusual example of this class of monument in that it is both unusually small, and it appears to have been constructed around a spinal row of standing stones.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a long barrow located on a slight terrace on the hillslope north of a low flat-topped hill known locally as Skelmore Heads. It is aligned east-west and includes a partly mutilated mound of earth and stones with maximum dimensions of 22m long by 13m wide. Towards its eastern end it measures up to 1.3m high but the barrow tapers down towards the western end where it measures approximately 0.5m high. There are two upright stones located within the barrow towards its eastern end; these protrude approximately 0.5m amd 0.3m high above the surface of the monument. Limited excavation undertaken in 1957 revealed that there had been some unrecorded disturbance between the two stone uprights. This disturbance may correspond to digging which took place c.1930 when finds of bone and pottery were made. During the 1957 excavation, the stumps of a further two stone uprights were located towards the western end of the barrow. These uprights are in alignment with the two larger upright stones towards the eastern end of the barrow and are regarded by the excavator as an important element in the ritual laying out of the monument. A drystone wall on the monument's northern side is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 27689

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Kenyon, D, The Origins of Lancashire, (1991), 29-32
Powell, T G E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Excavations At Skelmore Heads Near Ulverston 1957 And 1959, , Vol. LXIII, (1963), 1-30
Powell, T G E, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in The Tumulus At Skelmore Heads Near Ulverston, , Vol. LXXII, (1972), 53-6

End of official listing