MDE1057 - Holwell Barrow, Challacombe Common (Monument)


A well defined, steep sided Bronze Age mound is situated near Holwell Rocks in Challacombe parish.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 67224299) Holwell Barrow (NR). [1] Situated near Holwell Rocks in Challacombe parish . [2] At SS 6723 4299 is Holwell round barrow. The barrow measures 25 paces in diameter and 6 1/2 feet high. At SS 6720 4299 is a small cairn that measures 6 paces in diamter and 1 foot high. [3] A round barrow, 26.0 metres in diameter and 2.5 metres high, with a central depression 1.0 metres deep. Published survey 1:2500 revised. No trace of Grinsell's small cairn. [4] Holwell Barrow is centred at SS 6722 4299. It consists of a well defined, steep sided mound measuring 26 metres north to south by 25.6 metres and it stands to 2.3 metres in height. It has a summit diameter of 8.3 metres. A central excavation pit dug into the summit, is nearly square and measures 4.3 metres by 4.8 metres, and 0.5 metres deep. Some damage in the form of sheep scrapes has occurred at various places on the mound, notably on the lip of the mound on the southeast side. The vegetation consists of close cropped grass.The site has excellent visibility in all directions. 30.5 metres to the west-south-west of the centre of Holwell Barrow is a small subcircular, turf covered mound measuring 5.6 metres in diameter and standing to 0.3 metres in height. It lies on an irregular, disturbed ground surface which must cast some doubt on Grinsell's interpretation, nevertheless on balance this classification seems reasonable. Its proximity to Holwell Barrow is of considerable interest. [5] The round barrow described by the sources above is clearly visible on aerial photographs of the area. On earlier photographs from 1947, a ditch surrounding the central mound is visible, measuring up to 4 metres wide. No trace of this ditch is visible on photographs taken after 1973. [6,7] Holwelll Barrow is shown on the 1905 Ordnance Survey map [16]. It is situated on the parish boundary and measures 23 metres in diameter and 2 metres high. [9] Large round mound with flat top, shows clearly on aerial photographs. [10] In good condition. Large hollow in centre. Edges have been eroded by ploughing in the past, but now under pasture. [12] There is no visible trace of the small mound on the National Monuments Record 1979 aerial photograph. [14] The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 4. [17] The site was surveyed in June 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 0. [18] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [19] Holwell Barrow is depicted and labelled on the 2021 MasterMap data, within a small square enclosure. [20]

Sources/Archives (20)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <2> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Somerset. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. P. 626.
  • <3> Article in serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. p 114.
  • <4> Unpublished document: BUCKLEY, MHB. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 21 August 1972.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 20 July 1993.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3092-93 (11 April 1947).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 888-89 (29 April 1973).
  • <8> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <9> Report: Ancient Monuments. 1967. Site visit.
  • <10> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS64SE15.
  • <11> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6742A, SS7332A.
  • <12> Unpublished document: Griffith, F.. 1987. Field Notes.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/123 (1977).
  • <14> Aerial photograph: Unknown. 1979. SS6743: SF 1459/466. Aerial Photograph.
  • <15> Photograph: Unknown. 1987. Slide.
  • <16> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1905. 6 Inch Map: 1905. 1:10560.
  • <17> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <18> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <19> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34712, Extant 9 November 2021.
  • <20>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #38473 ]

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 14675
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2092
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 5616
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/26
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/26/1
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/69
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20152
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20183
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20399
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO27
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE15
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34712
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DV 628



Grid reference Centred SS 6722 4299 (38m by 37m) Centred on
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 9 2021 3:00PM


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