Prehistoric linear boundary and field system, medieval enclosure and tin miners' caches 1.06km north-west of Wardbrook Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015975

Date first listed: 07-Aug-1992


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric linear boundary and field system, medieval enclosure and tin miners' caches 1.06km north-west of Wardbrook Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Linkinhorne

National Grid Reference: SX 24678 73939


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

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. The linear boundaries on Bodmin Moor consist of stone banks, sometimes incorporating facing slabs or projecting end-set slabs called orthostats. They may be massively constructed, up to 8m wide and 1m high, although the majority are much slighter. Built during the Bronze Age (c.2000- 700 BC), they fulfilled a variety of functions. Some run at high altitudes along a contour and appear to separate lower land used for cultivation from that less intensively used. Some may be territorial, marking the boundaries of land held by particular social groups. Others may serve to delineate land set aside for ceremonial and religious activities such as burial. Frequently linear boundaries are associated with other forms of contemporary field system. They provide important information on the farming practices and social organisation of Bronze Age communities and form an important element of the existing landscape. A substantial proportion of examples which have survived are considered worthy of preservation.

Enclosures are discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters. Enclosures were constructed from Bronze Age (c.2000 - 700 BC) onwards and many can be dated by their form, associations and surface features of the land enclosed. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably, depending on their function and date. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the diversity of farming practices at various stages in the development of land use on the Moor. The Prehistoric linear boundary and adjacent medieval enclosure on the Langstone Downs have survived well, the only disturbance comprising minor breaks in the boundary due to later activity. The relationship within the monument between the Prehistoric and medieval structures illustrates well the changes in land use across that time-span. In addition, the close proximity of the monument to other Prehistoric and medieval settlement sites and field systems demonstrates the nature of social organisation and land use during the Bronze Age and medieval periods respectively.


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


The monument includes a Prehistoric linear boundary with a medieval enclosure adjacent to its lower end. The enclosure encompasses part of a Prehistoric field system and has two small medieval tin miners' caches built adjacent to its wall. The monument is situated near other Prehistoric linear boundaries, field systems and cairns on the western slope of the Langstone Downs on SE Bodmin Moor. Several medieval settlements are situated on the opposite side of the Withey Brook valley, while the valley floor has been subject to extensive medieval tin-streaming. The Prehistoric linear boundary survives as a wall of heaped rubble, up to 1.75m wide and 0.6m high, extending for 267m across the western slope of the Downs. The wall incorporates occasional edge-set facing slabs against one or both sides, and several sections include end-set slabs, called orthostats, which project above the general level of the wall rubble. The surviving western 15m of the boundary has been partly cleared of its smaller stone content for the construction of the medieval enclosure wall 6m to its west. This also resulted in some of the boundary's debris being pushed aside to form a curved heap avoided by a recess in the later enclosure wall. From its western end at the 295m contour level, the boundary adopts a general ENE course for 167m, almost directly uphill to the 320m contour level, but incorporating many minor curving irregularities which also characterise the other linear boundaries on the same slope beyond this monument. From the 320m level, the boundary undergoes an angular direction change to the SE, which it maintains throughout its eastern 100m, ending 25m north of another similar boundary at the 330m contour level. The boundary has three minor breaks due to later activity. A break 7m wide, 87m from its western end, and a break 3m wide, 82m from its eastern end, are each caused by tin and copper miners' water courses, called leats, passing through the boundary; the former dating to the mid-19th century, the latter originating in the medieval period. A break 11.5m wide is centred 26m from the boundary's eastern end where the trackbed of a mid-19th century mineral railway passes through. The medieval enclosure adjacent to the boundary's western end survives with an earth-and-rubble wall, up to 1.5m wide and 0.75m high, defining a sub-rectangular area measuring 112m NE-SW by 105m NW-SE. The wall shows facing by roughly coursed rubble on both sides, with facing slabs in its lower courses. Traces of an outer ditch, up to 1m wide and 0.3m deep, are visible along the enclosure's north-eastern and north-western sides. A small ancillary structure is built against the outer side of the enclosure's north-western wall. This comprises a slighter wall of similar construction, 0.75m wide and 0.5m high, defining a rectangular internal area of 6m NE-SW by 5m NW-SE. Within the enclosure are the partly cleared traces of a Prehistoric field system. This survives as two low rubble banks, 1.5m wide and 0.3m high, running 12m apart downslope, NE-SW, across the centre of the enclosure; only the northern of these banks reaches the enclosure's south-western wall and curves to the south, along the contour, on its approach. These banks are joined in their courses by two short, incomplete lengths of cross-bank running along the contour. The cross-banks and the southerly curving bank are all masked on their uphill sides by deep soil deposits brought downhill under the combined effects of Prehistoric cultivation and gravity on the hillslope, a process called lynchetting. Prehistoric stone clearance within the enclosure and the partial clearance of the field system during the medieval period has produced three clearance cairns, mounds of heaped rubble, up to 8m long, 5m wide and 0.75m high. This Prehistoric field system is part of a larger field system whose field plots and boundaries survive extensively beyond the monument across much of the western slope of the Langstone Downs and of which the linear boundary in this monument forms a part. The lower courses of two small rectangular buildings typical of medieval tin miners stores, or caches, are situated adjacent to two points along the enclosure wall. One is situated within its eastern corner angle and survives with walling of roughly coursed rubble, 0.7m wide and 0.3m high, enclosing an internal area 1.8m NW-SE by 1.2m NE-SW, open-ended to the NW. The other cache is more neatly constructed with rough facing slabs and is built against the enclosure's outer side, in a step in its south-western wall. This survives to a height of 0.4m and measures internally 1.6m east-west by 1.3m north-south, open to the east. Both of these caches are in typically hidden locations close to the extensive medieval tin-streaming remains located along the floor of the Withey Brook to the west. The trackbed surface of the 19th century mineral railway is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

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: 15134

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 316-8
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 155-174
Sharpe, A, The Minions Area Archaeological Survey and Management (Volume 2), (1989), 301-2
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription for SX 2473,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A./RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcriptions for SX 2473 & SX 2474,
consulted 9/1991, Carter, A/RCHME, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1274 & 1275,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1215;1216;1217,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1398 (NW wall) & 1287,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries for PRN 1428 (part + unmapped extension),
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN 1274/1288/1465+1464 (=not a stone row),
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entries: PRN1288/1428 part/1464+1465=not a stone row,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1274,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1286.2,
consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1286.3,
Qualification consulted 9/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 1264,
Title: 1:25000 Ordnance Survey Map Source Date: 1988 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: SX 242728; SX 241740; SX 238747

End of official listing