MMO324 - Bronze Age cairn and possible contemporary quarrying above Heddon's Mouth Cleave (Monument)


A probable Bronze Age cairn is visible on aerial photographs and at ground level as a turf-covered stoney mound. Nearby three small circular depressions may represent either the source of material for the cairn or later quarrying activity.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 65855 48925 A cairn, visible as a grass covered stoney mound, 13 metres in diameter and 1.3 metres maximum height. The cairn, one of two circular features noted by McDonnell [1] on 1946 aerial photographs [2], is in a ploughed field now under pasture. It is prominently situated on the edge of a northwest projecting hillspur overlooking the deep valley of Heddon's Mouth Cleave with panoramic visibility. It is constructed on the slope and its south side is about 0.1 metres high and the downhill, north side, about 1.3 metres high. Part of the centre is eroded, exposing the content of small stones, and some furze covers the north side. The cairn could be a field clearance heap but its excellent situation, general appearance, symmetry and content of hand picked stone, suggests it is almost certainly a prehistoric cairn. The other feature noted by McDonnell is a circular hollow 33 metres to the southeast of the cairn at SS 65885 48906. It is about 11 metres diameter and 0.4 metres deep with the hollow slightly elongated towards the cairn. It may well be the source of the material of the cairn. Surveyed at 1:2500. [3] Both the cairn and the associated circular depression mentioned above are visible on aerial photographs. A second depression, located at SS 6724 4570 is also visible, measuring approximately 10 metres in diameter and cut into the slope of the valley above Heddon's Mouth Cleave. It is not clear from the aerial photographs whether these extractive pits, which are shown but not annotated on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, are the source of material for the cairn or whether they represent later quarrying activity. N.B. SS 6724 4570 is a grid reference sited on the road just north of Parracombe Lane Head. This is clearly an incorrect grid reference. The National Mapping Project data supplied to the HER has, however, transcribed a third large cut feature at SS 6579 4893, which is likely to be the feature mentioned above. [4-7] The site is also visible on aerial photography taken in 1978. [8] The 25 inch 1st Edition map also depicts a similar earthwork feature at SS 6594 4886. This earthwork is the only one to be depicted on the 25 inch 2nd Edition map. [5,9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6548a.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NAPL, RAF 106G/UK1655 3163 (July 1946).
  • <3> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 June 1993.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 3161-62 (11 July 1946).
  • <5>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889. [Mapped feature: #45970 ]
  • <6>XY Archive: Exmoor National Park National Mapping Programme: SS 64 NE. MD002172. [Mapped features: #45967 Quarry?, ; #45968 Cairn, ; #45969 Quarry?, ]
  • <7> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 30 September 2020.
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . MAM/2600 (June 1978).
  • <9> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 915651, Extant 2 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6586 4889 (167m by 78m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS64NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17928
  • Devon SMR: SS64NE/42
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE11246
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20542
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NE70
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 915651

Record last edited

Nov 2 2021 12:34PM


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