Round barrow cemetery and beacon at Heathfield, 650m west of Moorlands


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2020. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2020. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020075.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 04-Dec-2020 at 14:53:40.


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

West Devon (District Authority)
West Devon (District Authority)
West Devon (District Authority)
Milton Abbot
National Grid Reference:
SX 46156 79595

Reasons for Designation

Round barrow cemeteries date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They comprise closely-spaced groups of up to 30 round barrows - rubble or earthen mounds covering single or multiple burials. Most cemeteries developed over a considerable period of time, often many centuries, and in some cases acted as a focus for burials as late as the early medieval period. They exhibit considerable diversity of burial rite, plan and form, frequently including several different types of round barrow, occasionally associated with earlier long barrows. Where large scale investigation has been undertaken around them, contemporary or later "flat" burials between the barrow mounds have often been revealed. Round barrow cemeteries occur across most of lowland Britain, with a marked concentration in Wessex. In some cases, they are clustered around other important contemporary monuments such as henges. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape, whilst their diversity and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the variety of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving or partly-surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The round barrow cemetery at Heathfield survives well despite some partial excavation, some alterations through the construction of boundary hedges, the use of the land for limited cultivation at some time in the past and the re-use of one of the bowl barrows as a beacon mound. It contains a wide variety of different sized barrows and also differing barrow types. It will also contain both archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and its surrounding landscape.

Of the types represented, bowl barrows are the most numerous form of round barrow, with over 10,000 examples recorded nationally. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds each covering single or multiple burials.

Bell barrows are the most visually impressive form of round barrow and their burials are frequently accompanied by weapons, personal ornaments and pottery. It is believed that these are the burial places of aristocratic individuals, usually men. Bell barrows are rare nationally, with some 250 recorded examples.


This monument includes the core of a round barrow cemetery containing five bowl barrows and three bell barrows, as well as a beacon. The monument is situated on a prominent upland ridge which overlooks the valleys of tributaries to the River Lyd, River Burn and River Lumburn. The cemetery straddles the parish boundaries between Milton Abbot, Lamerton and Brentor. Two additional barrows, representing outlying components of the cemetery are situated to west and are the subject of separate schedulings. The five bowl barrows each include circular mounds which vary in diameter from 20.6m up to 24m and in height from 0.6m up to 1.2m. They are all surrounded by quarry ditches from which material to construct the mounds was derived; these measure up to 3.2m wide, some are up to 0.1m deep and visible, but the majority are preserved as buried features. Most of the bowl barrows have a fairly steep profile and rather uneven appearance; some are more stoney in nature than others. Three of the bowl barrows underlie field boundaries, and one is the focal point of three parishes and has been partially disturbed by the construction of several boundaries. One barrow which partially underlies a field boundary, and which is also a parish boundary, was reused as a beacon and has also been partially excavated. The bell barrows each have a central mound surrounded by a flat raised platform called the berm which is surrounded by an outer ditch. The diameters of the mounds vary from 23.3m up to 34.4m in diameter. The berms range in width from 1.5m up to 3.2m and in height from 0.5m up to 0.8m. The overall heights of the mounds vary from 0.8m up to 1.4m. One bell barrow is cut by a ditched field boundary and has been partially excavated on the south western quadrant, whilst another has a small, roughly circular mound on its summit which measures 2.4m in diameter and up to 0.3m high which once held a triangulation pillar. The archaeologically sensitive areas between these barrows is included in the scheduling as this is likely to contain contemporary evidence for burial and occupation. The field boundaries which cross some of the barrows are included within the monument, especially since some are also parish boundaries providing evidence for the use of the earlier monuments for land division. However, their adjacent stock proof fences are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features 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:
Legacy System:


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE11, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE12, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE13, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE14, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE22, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE28, (1987)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE4, (1986)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX47NE7, (1990)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].