Two cairns and two bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill, 440m south of Bicknoller Post


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Two cairns and two bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill, 440m south of Bicknoller Post
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
ST 12862 39893

Reasons for Designation

The area of the Quantock Hills, although small in extent, is one of the few remaining expanses of open moorland in southern Britain. Its archaeological importance lies in the existence of a landscape displaying examples of monuments tracing the exploitation of the hills from the Bronze Age onwards. Well-preserved monuments from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, including round barrows, cairns, settlements, hillforts and a trackway, as well as later industrial remains, give insights into changes in the pattern of land use on the hills through time. These earthwork features are one of the key components of the Quantocks' broader landscape character. Round barrows and cairns on the Quantock Hills sometimes form mixed cemeteries which are concentrations of two or more cairns in close proximity to one or more round barrows. The cairns may be clearance cairns or funerary cairns. Clearance cairns, built with stone from the surrounding land surface to improve its use for agriculture, can sometimes define field plots. Funerary round cairns, covering single or multiple burials, are difficult to differentiate from clearance cairns without excavation, both being circular mounds. Clearance cairns were constructed from the Neolithic period (from c.3400 BC), although the majority of examples appear to be the result of field clearance which began during the earlier Bronze Age and continued into the later Bronze Age (2000-700 BC). Funerary cairns date to the Bronze Age. Round barrows are constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, covering single or multiple burials. They also date to the Bronze Age, and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, sometimes many centuries. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape. Their longevity and variation in size, content and associations provide important information on the variety of beliefs, social organisation, development of land use and agricultural practices amongst early prehistoric communities. Only a small number of round cairn cemeteries have been recorded on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher. A substantial proportion of surviving or partly surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite one of the cairns and the two barrows having been disturbed, the cairns and the bowl barrows on Weacombe Hill are integral to the Weacombe Hill mixed cemetery and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the mixed cemetery and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes two cairns and two bowl barrows on the south facing slope of Weacombe Hill at the north west end of the Quantocks. The cairns and barrows form part of a wider mixed cemetery on the hill which includes three barrows and two cairns. The cairns and barrows, which form an inverted `C' shape, facing west, have mounds which measure 5m, 10m, 14m and 23m in diameter and are 0.4m, 0.5m, 0.5m and 1m high respectively. Surrounding the mound of each of the two barrows is a ditch from which material was quarried during its construction. This ditch has become infilled over the years and can no longer be seen at ground level, but survives as a buried feature c.3m wide. One of the cairns was first identified by A T Wicks in 1933. One of the cairns is spread, and the barrows show signs of disturbance indicative of previous investigation.

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:
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Books and journals
Wicks, A T, Barrow Lore, (1933), 104-108
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 27
Grinsell, L V, 'Proceedings of the Smerset Archaeological and Nat.Hist Society' in Somerset Barrows Part 1, (1969), 27


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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