Ring cairn on West Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014121

Date first listed: 29-Jan-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 09-Feb-1996


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn on West Hill
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Somerset

District: West Somerset (District Authority)

Parish: East Quantoxhead

National Grid Reference: ST 12327 41573


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

Reasons for Designation

A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by fieldwork and ground level survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite partial excavation, the ring cairn on West Hill survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the cairn and the landscape in which it was constructed. This is one of around twenty prehistoric cairns recorded on the Quantocks. Other prehistoric monuments recorded in the area include round barrows, settlements, hillforts and a trackway.


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


The monument includes a ring cairn just below the crest of West Hill at the north west end of the Quantocks. The cairn has a central stony area with a higher surrounding rim. The cairn has a total diameter of 15.3m. The surrounding rim is c.0.75m high and is between 2.5m and 3.5m wide. A c.2.5m diameter depression 0.6m deep in the centre of the cairn is indicative of antiquarian investigation.

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: 22078

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, , Vol. 113, (1969), 30

End of official listing