Four round barrows on The Allotment, 520m south east of Spire Cross


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


Ordnance survey map of Four round barrows on The Allotment, 520m south east of Spire Cross
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Somerset (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SS 89284 33287

Reasons for Designation

Round barrows 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 mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. They occur either in isolation or grouped as cemeteries and often acted as a focus of 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 examples recorded nationally (many more have already been destroyed), occurring across most of Britain, including the Wessex area where it is often possible to classify them more closely, for example as bowl or bell barrows. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major historic element in the modern landscape and their considerable variation in 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 at least two of the mounds having been disturbed, probably in antiquity, the four round barrows on The Allotment, 520m south east of Spire Cross survive well as a group. They will contain archaeological deposits and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the wider landscape in which it was constructed. Their importance is further enhanced by their association with a number of prehistoric burial mounds which occupy prominent positions along the summit of Winsford Hill which would have provided a striking visual element in the prehistoric landscape.


The monument includes four round barrows which are located at the south eastern end of Winsford Hill. The barrows are situated near the southern boundary of an enclosed area of high and level ground known as The Allotment, overlooking the Exe Valley to the east and the Barle Valley to the west. The four barrows are prehistoric in date and are arranged in a crescent-shaped plan which broadly follows a north-south aligment. The barrows, which are all formed by circular earth and stone mounds, are thought to be bowl barows, a class of round barrow which takes its name from the shape of the mounds. The mounds of the three northernmost barrows range in size from 5m to 11m in diameter and are up to 0.7m high. The mound of the southernmost barrow, which is located some 50m to the south of the others, is 12.5m in diameter and 0.6m high. The perimeter of this mound is encircled with stone, some of which is quartz. In keeping with other similarly constructed barrows in the region, the four mounds would have been surrounded by ditches from which material was quarried for their construction. Although these are no longer visible at ground level they will survive as buried features between 1m and 2m wide and are included in the scheduling.

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:


SS 83 SE 9, National Monuments Record, (1997)


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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