MDE1059 - Group of Bronze Age barrows on Challacombe Common (Monument)


A group of three Bronze Age round barrows on a ridge end position, much disturbed by excavation. A further reported three mounds were not located during field investigation in 1993.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

(SS 6832 4294) (SS 6834 4295) (SS 6835 4299) Tumuli (NR). [1] A. at SS 6832 4294 is 16 paces in diameter and 3 feet high; B. at SS 68364295 is 15 paces in diameter and 1 foot high; C. at SS 68354299 is 14 paces in diameter and 3 feet high. All round barrows. [2] Three round barrows lying in open moorland. Barrow 'A' is 18.0 metres in diameter and 1.0 metres high. This barrow has a central depression. Barrow 'B' is 17.0 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres high. Barrow 'C' is 13.0 metres in diameter and 0.6 metres high. Resurveyed at 1:2500. [3] A group of three barrows centred at SS 6834 4297. Barrow 'A' is a roughly circular turfy, tussocky mound measuring 16 metres north to south and 17 metres west to east. It is 1.5 metres high on the western side, but otherwise 0.9 metres high. The summit of the mound measures 10.2 metres in diameter. It has been disturbed by an excavation, in the form of a square pit roughly 4.5 metres across and 0.4 metres deep. Barrow 'B' is a turf covered mound measuring 11.2 metres north to south by 10.6 metres west to east, and 0.5 metres high. The summit measures 6.7 metres north to south by 5.5 metres west to east, and has an amorphous hollow at its centre. Further disturbance is visible on the western and eastern scarps of the mound. Here an outer rim possibly represents either excavation spoil, or alternatively an attemp to discover the former extent of the mound and to establish whether it had a kerb. Barrow 'C' is a turfy, tussocky mound, very disturbed by excavation, but measuring approximately 12.2 metres north to south by 11 metres west to east. It has a summit diameter of 7.5 metres. The mound stands to 0.8 metres on the north and west sides, but 0.6 metres on the south and east. The excavation is in the form of a central pit driven in through the east side of the mound. It measures 3.2 metres north to south and 6.9 metres west to east. A further area of disturbance which may be associated with the excavation exists on the northern crest of the mound. McDonnell [4] records three further mounds at SS 6838 4297, SS 6842 4298 and SS 6802 4295 from aerial photographs. No surface evidence for these features was observed. The aspect is generally west facing. The barrows occupy a ridge-end position with ground falling to north, south and west. To the east is higher ground with the Chapman Barrows (MDE1061). [5] The three barrows are all visible on aerial photographs as low earthworks, only one of which shows signs of disturbance. There is no trace of the three additional mounds on the aerial photographs viewed during the Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme; however the ground does appear very uneven in this area. Several other similiar mounds are visible in this area (for example MDE1058). [6,7] The 3 mounds not recorded by the Ordnance Survey Archaeological Division are very obscure on 1979 National Monument Record oblique aerial photograph. [11] An urn was possibly found in one of this barrow group. [13] There is a hole in the centre of barrow 'A' and the barrow has a stoney rim. The surface of barrow 'B' is uneven and the barrow has been dug into. (Barrow 'C') One of a group of 5 barrows and an enclosure on Challacombe Common. The barrow is 10.6 metres in diameter and 0.6 metres high, with a disturbed centre. [14] There is a discrepancy between the numbering on plan and the text of the List of Ancient Monuments of England volume 7 - Barrow 'A' and Barrow 'C' might be number 1 or number 3 of the group scheduled as 913. [15] The site was visited as part of the Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009. A survival score of 0 was given to Barrows A and B and 4 to Barrow C. [16] The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. Barrows A and B received survival scores of 0 and Barrow C was given a survival score of 4. [17] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [18] The tumuli are depicted and labelled on 2021 MasterMap data. [19]

Sources/Archives (19)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <2> Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. P. 114.
  • <3> Unpublished document: BUCKLEY, MHB. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 16 August 1972.
  • <4> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6842d, SS6842e.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 23 June 93.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/2549 3108-09 (27 March 1948).
  • <7> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <8> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS64SE17. Plan.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. AF/CPE/UK/1980.3090 (April 1947).
  • <10> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. MAM/13/122 (May 1977).
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS6843:SF 1460/1 (7 March 1979).
  • <12> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1905. 6 Inch Map: 1905. 1:10560.
  • <13> Article in serial: Worth, R. H.. 1902. Twenty-First Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 34.
  • <14> Report: Department of Environment. 1972. List of Ancient Monuments.
  • <15> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Devon County Council staff comments. FM Griffith.
  • <16> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <17> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <18> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34718, Extant 9 November 2021.
  • <19>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped features: #40451 ; #40452 ]

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17976
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2660
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2661
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 5612
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/45
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/46
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/53
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/90
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20164
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20165
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20181
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20722
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO29
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE17
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34718



Grid reference Centred SS 6832 4296 (50m by 75m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 9 2021 3:19PM


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