A henge, two barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and part of a linear feature 420m north west of Lower Hampson


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


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

Mid Devon (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SS 70789 01631

Reasons for Designation

Henges are ritual or ceremonial centres which date to the Late Neolithic period (2800-2000 BC). They were constructed as roughly circular or oval- shaped enclosures comprising a flat area over 20m in diameter enclosed by a ditch and external bank. One, two or four entrances provided access to the interior of the monument, which may have contained a variety of features including timber or stone circles, post or stone alignments, pits, burials or central mounds. Finds from the ditches and interiors of henges provide important evidence for the chronological development of the sites, the types of activity that occurred within them and the nature of the environment in which they were constructed. Henges occur throughout England with the exception of south-eastern counties and the Welsh Marches. They are generally situated on low ground, often close to springs and water-courses. Henges are rare nationally with about 80 known examples. As one of the few types of identified Neolithic structures and in view of their comparative rarity, all henges are considered to be of national importance.

This henge forms the focal point of a large number of related monuments including ring ditches, barrows, enclosures and linear ditches. Whilst many of these monuments are the subject of separate schedulings, this monument includes two barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and a linear ditch. Ring ditches are the truncated remains of round barrows which 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 ditched earthen or rubble mounds, 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. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst early prehistoric communities. The enclosures by contrast are less well understood. It is not known whether they were for domestic habitation or served some form of ritual function. Their close association and central position within this ritual landscape however means that they are an integral part of it and will contain information concerning their own character and date as well as providing data on the evolution and nature of this important area.


This monument includes a henge, two bowl barrows, two ring ditches, two enclosures and part of a linear feature. They are situated on a hilltop overlooking the valleys of the River Yeo to the east and the Venn Lake to the north. They form part of a complex of ritual and funerary monuments located around the village of Bow. They also lie within an area of Devon which has concentrations of the placename `Nymett', thought to have some Celtic sacred significance. The henge itself is oval in shape and measures 60m long by 50m wide across the outer edges of the ditch and encloses an area of 45m by 40m. Traces of an outer bank have also been recorded on the aerial photograph taken in September 1984 although dimensions for these were unclear. The typology of the features present at the henge have enabled its identification as a Class II henge. The henge is seen to have two opposing entrances, one on each of the eastern and western sides, although the one to the east is considerably narrower owing to the presence of a terminal pit at the eastern end of the northern ditch. The orientation of the entrances lies just WSW to ENE of a true east to west line. Within the henge an irregular ovoid of approximately 19 pits were identified from the aerial photographs, which seem to enclose an area of 30m from east to west and 17m from north to south. The presence of a flattened platform up to 0.2m high is visible on the ground to confirm its location. Fieldwalking in the area of the henge has produced 826 flint and chert pieces with a high ratio of arrowheads and scrapers, indicative of a Late Neolithic date. To the east of the henge is a linear feature running from north to south. The function and date of this feature are unclear, although it clearly curves around the bank of the henge. The ditch associated with this feature shows up clearly on aerial photographs of the area and on the ground a slight bank measuring up to 1.5m wide and 0.2m to 0.3m high is visible continuing to a length of some 460m. Further to the east and slightly north of the henge are two distinct overlapping enclosures. The larger of the two is roughly rectangular in shape and measures 85m long from east to west and 73m wide from north to south. The second enclosure is also sub-rectangular in shape, and measures 43m long from north to south by 33m wide from east to west. Both enclosures have entrances on the eastern side. The exact date and chronological progression of these enclosures is unclear. In the area between the henge and the enclosures, aerial photographs indicate a series of pits, ditches and other features which are difficult to rationalise into distinct features but which clearly indicate a concentration of archaeological activity. To the south west of the henge lie a group of two bowl barrows and two ring ditches. The westernmost barrow has a slight circular mound with a diameter of 10m and is 0.2m high. The surrounding quarry ditch is preserved as a buried feature. The largest has a slight circular mound with a diameter of 20m and is up to 0.3m high and is also surrounded by a buried ditch. The ring ditches, which lie east of the barrows, survive as buried features with a diameter of 10m and are visible only on aerial photographs. This monument is part of a larger concentration of funerary and ritual monuments located around the present day settlement of Bow and many of these are the subject of separate schedulings.

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.

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Books and journals
Griffith, F, Devon's Past: An Aerial View, (1988), 25
Griffith, F M, 'Prehistoric Society Proceedings' in Some Newly Discovered Ritual Monuments in Mid Devon, , Vol. 51, (1985), 310-14
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW68, (1991)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SS70SW70, (1991)
MPP fieldwork by H. Gerrard, (1996)


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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