The Ulwell Barrow 400m N of Sheperds Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014292

Date first listed: 29-Jul-1960

Date of most recent amendment: 12-Mar-1996


Ordnance survey map of The Ulwell Barrow 400m N of Sheperds Farm
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This copy shows the entry on 12-Dec-2018 at 02:35:27.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Studland

County: Dorset

District: Purbeck (District Authority)

Parish: Swanage

National Grid Reference: SZ 02229 81314


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

Reasons for Designation

Bowl barrows, the most numerous form of round barrow, are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus for burials in later periods. Often superficially similar, although differing widely in size, they exhibit regional variations in form and a diversity of burial practices. There are over 10,000 surviving bowl barrows recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of lowland Britain. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation of form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Despite limited disturbance by the construction of an obelisk, the Ulwell Barrow at the western end of Ballard Down survives well and is known from part excavation to contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. The barrow forms part of a dispersed group of round barrows situated along the top of Ballard Down.


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


The monument includes a bowl barrow, known as the Ulwell Barrow, situated at the western end of Ballard Down, a chalk ridge of the Isle of Purbeck, overlooking Swanage Bay to the south east, Studland Bay to the north east, and heathland to the west and north. The barrow has a mound composed of earth, flint and chalk with a maximum diameter of 19.5m and a maximum height of c.2m. This is surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during the construction of the monument. On the eastern side of the monument the ditch remains visible as an earthwork 4m wide and c.0.3m deep; elsewhere the ditch has become infilled, but will survive as a buried feature. There are traces of a hollow in the top of the barrow mound and this is likely to relate to the part excavation of the site by J H Austen in 1857. These excavations identified a primary inhumation situated within a chalk cut grave with dimensions of 1.5m by 2.4m. The skull was covered by flat stones and the burial was associated with a handled cup of fine red ware and antler fragments. A secondary disarticulated inhumation associated with urn fragments was identified near to the centre of the mound. A secondary cremation was associated with additional urn fragments underneath a flat stone within the barrow mound. There is now an obelisk situated on the south eastern side of the mound. This dates to 1892 and was erected to commemorate `the introduction of pure water from the chalk formation into Swanage'. The obelisk was dismantled in 1941 and re-erected by the army in 1952. Excluded from the scheduling are all fence posts relating to the modern field boundaries, along with the structure of the obelisk, although the underlying ground is included in each case.

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: 22994

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Austen, J, 'Purbeck Papers' in On the Tumuli of the Chalk Range, , Vol. Vol 115, (1856), 157-8
Mention hollow in top of mound,
Name of site,

End of official listing