MDE20204 - Easternmost Bronze Age cairn at Holdstone Barrows (Monument)
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Type and Period (2)
Holdstone Barrows, site of barrow "C". SS 6199 4768. These three tumuli have been totally destroyed. Site of "C" could not be found. It has been completely razed and the stones scattered.  The site was visited in May 1961 by C Whybrow and LV Grinsell. SS 6202 4768. A mutilated cairn, possibly a barrow, was noted with a diameter of 14 paces and a height of 9 inches.  Only very slight unsurveyable vestiges of these three barrows survive.  The mutilated remains of three summit cairns on Holdstone Down. The summit of Holdstone Down is now dominated by a completely modern cairn, over 2 metres in height; immediately south is an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar. The summit is easily accessible and forms an alternative route for the South West Coast Path, which means that it is a much visited site. The three cairns are all extant, but are all in a very disturbed and robbed state. Cairn C is centred at SS 6199 4768. It consists of a low circular spread of stones some 20.2 metres in overall diameter, and never more than 0.6 metres high. The feature has been badly robbed, with hollows impinging on the mound to west and east. In addition two slight central hollows may be the result of an excavation. In construction detail the cairn seems to be composed of a central mound of stones 13 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high, surrounded by a shallow ditch and an external stony ring 18.2 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high. It is reminiscent of the classification bowl barrow with ditch and external bank, although its form may be in part due to excavation and robbing. Vegetation: bare, denuded surface; low heather and turf. Aspect: open in all directions except north-west. These cairns form an important group on the extreme northwestern fringe of Exmoor. Their battered condition is largely the result of a number of agencies: antiquarian interest; the inclosure of Holdstone Down (MDE8959); military activity on the Down during World War 2 (MDE8963); robbing to construct the modern summit cairn. Nevertheless it seems likely that the cairns were never of any great height, and should probably be paralleled more with the three cairns on Trentishoe Common (MDE1037) than with groups like the Chapman Barrows (MDE1061). The summit of the Downs has a very thin soil cover, and cairns B and C have been overlooked or written off in the past mainly because they are stone monuments on a largely soil-free, rocky surface. Surveyed at 1/2500.  Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [6,7] The feature is depicted and labelled on the 2021 MasterMap data. 
- <1> SMO7328 Unpublished document: Willy, S. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 30 June 1952.
- <2> SEM6798 Article in serial: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Barrows of North Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 28. 116.
- <3> SMO7308 Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F2, 14 August 1972.
- <4> SEM6876 Report: The National Trust. 1984. Holdstone Down, Devon.
- <5> SEM7406 Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6147F.
- <6> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1655.3181 (July 1946).
- <7> SMO7329 Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 15 June 1993.
- <8> SEM8323 Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34651.
- <9> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34651, Extant 28 April 2021.
- <10>XY SEM340794 Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #33319 ]
|Grid reference||SS 6198 4768 (point)|
|Civil Parish||COMBE MARTIN, NORTH DEVON, DEVON|
Related Monuments/Buildings (3)
Related Events/Activities (4)
External Links (2)
- https://heritagerecords.nationaltrust.org.uk/HBSMR/MonRecord.aspx?uid=MNA107757 (National Trust HER entry: MNA107757)
- www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=34651 (Original Monarch entry: 34651)
- Devon SMR Monument ID: 12090
- Devon SMR: SS64NW/12
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE1036
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW3
- National Trust HER Record: MNA107757
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34651
Record last edited
May 3 2021 10:14PM
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