Cairn on Thorncombe Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1014128
Date first listed: 29-Jan-1976
Date of most recent amendment: 09-Feb-1996
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Somerset (District Authority)
National Grid Reference: ST 12679 39310
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 cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age
(c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter
predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally
available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and
are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their
considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide
important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation
amongst early prehistoric communities. Twelve round cairns have been recorded
on the Quantocks, although the original figure is likely to have been higher.
They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
Despite disturbance to its mound, the cairn on Thorncombe Hill survives well and will contain archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the cairn and the landscape in which it was constructed.
The monument includes a cairn on the south facing slope of Thorncombe Hill on
the Quantocks. The cairn has a mound which measures c.13m north-south, 17m
east-west and is 0.75m high. Surrounding the mound is a ditch c.2m wide and
The uneven surface of the mound is indicative of antiquarian investigation.
The cairn was first recognised by L V Grinsell in 1969.
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: 22085
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), 27
Somerset County Photographic Department, Quantock Hills A. P. Survey,
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