MMO115 - Bronze Age burial cairn at Ruckham Combe (Monument)


The monument is clearly visible on aerial photographs and consists of a platform of turf covered stones with a diameter of c. 5 metres and a height of 0.5 metres. It has been disturbed with some of its contents falling away from the slope.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 72734277. Small circular bank with gap seen on aerial photographs. Probably a modern sheep shelter. [1] Mrs Kempson reports a possible ring cairn at SS 7275 4275, supported by a loaned photograph. This shows a platform of turf covered stones, overall about 7 metres across with a rim of exposed stones around the northern parimeter. The monument is on the lip of a steep east slope in a totally exposed position. (The National Grid Reference suggests it is the site described in the NAR as `probably a modern sheep shelter' which seems totally inappropriate, visually and positionally. Re assessment necessary). [2] SS 72726 42770. A cairn, 5 metres in diameter and 0.5 metres high. This feature is not a sheep shelter (as suggested by [1]), it is the remains of a prehistoric burial cairn. It is prominently situated on gently sloping ground in rough grassland and rushes, some 440 metres above Ordnance Datum. It lies in an angle between a field drain on the south and a stream, the headwaters of the West Lyn River, on the west at the head of Ruckham Combe. The ground drops away steeply on the north side giving excellent visibility down Ruckham Combe from the northwest around to the northeast but the remaining view to the south is blocked by the rising ground of The Chains. The partly turf covered cairn is consolidated but has been disturbed centrally, some of its contents of small and large stones dumped around it, especially in the northeast, tumbling down the slope and partly obscurring the otherwise well defined rim. It is built up, about a maximum of 1.1 metres high, in the southwest above the West Lyn headwaters but otherwise it is generally about 0.5 metres high. The predominance of the stone is therefore around the rim, giving the erroneous impression of a 'ring' cairn or a small collapsed sheepfold. Surveyed at 1:2500. [3] SS 7274 4274. The monument is clearly visible on infra red aerial photograph taken for Exmoor National Park Authority in 1983 as a small stony ring, measuring between 7 and 9 metres in diameter. Given its location it could easily be mistaken for a hut circle or ring cairn, but the conclusions drawn by [3] seem most likely. [5,6] The feature is marked on the 2021 MasterMap data at SS 7272 4276 and labelled "Cairn". [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3149-3150 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 7 June 1965.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Pers. Comm from M Kempson, Ilfracombe, 4 December 1989.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 May 1995.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <7>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #40482 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7272 4276 (13m by 13m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10885
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6846
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW63
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35499
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33024

Record last edited

Feb 14 2021 6:58PM


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