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HER Number:MDV5666
Name:Three Barrows; largest cairn, Ugborough Moor


The largest of the barrows at 'Three Barrows'. A mound of stones on a stone and earth base with diameter of 40 metres and height of 2.5 metres and a central hollow.


Grid Reference:SX 653 625
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishSOUTH BRENT

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66SE55
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 441934
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SE/9
  • Old SAM County Ref: 389
  • Old SAM Ref: 10572

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • CROSS (Constructed, Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD? to 1750 AD)

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

'Tumuli' at 'Three Barrows' shown on 19th century map.

Page, J. L. W., 1895, An Exploration of Dartmoor and its Antiquities, with some account of its borders, with some account of its borders, 255 (Monograph). SDV344985.

Crossing, W., 1912 (1965), Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor, 378 (Monograph). SDV320981.

Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 163-164, 466, Plate 32a (Monograph). SDV337618.

A large cairn, mutilated (measurements; diameter 39 metres, height 2.5 metres). This centre cairn is the largest of the 3, and stands on the parish boundary. The stones are very much disturbed round the perimeter and on the cairn. The height is slightly lower in the north than in the south.

National Monuments Record, 1969, NMR SX6463, 28-48 (Aerial Photograph). SDV165976.

Photograph taken on 12th April 1969.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX66SE55 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV141071.

(19/07/1977) A very large cairn, 45.0m. north west-south east by 38.0m. south west-north east and 2.5m. high, in a prominent position at about 464m. above O.D. It has a slightly dished top, perhaps the result of small cairns and shelters being constructed around the summit. There are small overgrown quarry pits immediately west of the barrow.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on P.F.D.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 168 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site visited on 23rd June 1973. Central of three barrows. Cairn, largest on Dartmoor. Diameter 40 metres, height 2.5 metres.

Robinson, R., 1980, An Archaeological Check-List for South Brent (Report - non-specific). SDV150007.

A cairn built of loose granite, 39 metres diameter and 2.5 metres high. The stones are much disturbed and recently may have been cracked by heat during the Jubilee bonfire of 1977.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP, 1013029 (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Visible on aerial photograph.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 64, Map 54 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Central cairn on Three Barrows at SX65306259 of 43 metres diameter by 3.5 metres high still contains over three thousand cubic metres of stone.

Watson, A., 2007?, Cross at Three Barrows, Ugborough, Un-dated; this date is from the report (Photograph). SDV361042.

Image of the cross lying amongst the stones of the cairn.

Watson, A., 2007-2017?, Devon Crosses, 470, (Vol 4), images (Un-published). SDV360833.

Three Barrows SX653626
A fragment of cross head is lying amongst the mass of stones on the central cairn of three, on the summit of Three Barrows, Dartmoor.
A mutilated head of a cross, rectangular in section. Records exist that four crosses were erected about 1550 to mark the boundary of the Manor of Brent, Sir William Petre being Lord of the Manor. The crosses were erected at Three Barrows, Buckland Ford (missing), Western Whitebarrow (Petre's Cross) and Huntingdon.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Visible on aerial photograph.

Newman, P., 2018, Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet) (Cartographic). SDV361913.

Feature shown on survey.

Newman, P., 2018, The Upper Erme Valley, Dartmoor National Park, Devon: An Archaeological Survey, Appendix 1 (Report - Survey). SDV362921.

The largest of the Three Barrows is at the centre of the three, with a spread diameter of 40 metres, though it stands to only approximately 2.5 metres high. The central areas of all three cairns have been much disturbed over the centuries, though some crudely-built stone shelters, visible on satellite photography of 2002 (Google Earth), have been dismantled and the stone carefully re-assimilated into the cairn by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

This is the largest of three large cairns situated prominently on the hill known as Three Barrows. It is formed by a mound of stones on a stone and earth base and is 40 metres in diameter and 2.5 metres in height. A reave runs through the cairn, which is the central one of the group, but passes the other two. The mound stones have been moved around by visitors and the cairn has a hollow in the centre.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV141071Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX66SE55. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV150007Report - non-specific: Robinson, R.. 1980. An Archaeological Check-List for South Brent. DAS/DCRA Publication. 8. A4 Comb Bound.
SDV165976Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1969. NMR SX6463. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 28-48.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 168.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic. 1013029.
SDV320981Monograph: Crossing, W.. 1912 (1965). Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Crossing's Guide to Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 378.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337618Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 163-164, 466, Plate 32a.
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 64, Map 54.
SDV344985Monograph: Page, J. L. W.. 1895. An Exploration of Dartmoor and its Antiquities, with some account of its borders, with some account of its borders. An Exploration of Dartmoor and its Antiquities. Unknown. 255.
SDV360833Un-published: Watson, A.. 2007-2017?. Devon Crosses. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. 470, (Vol 4), images.
SDV361042Photograph: Watson, A.. 2007?. Cross at Three Barrows, Ugborough. Digital. Un-dated; this date is from the report.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital).
SDV361913Cartographic: Newman, P.. 2018. Erme Valley Survey data (GIS and Excel spreadsheet). GIS ShapeFile. Digital. [Mapped feature: #95597 ]
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV25706Related to: Group of trial or stone extraction pits west of Three Barrows on Ugborough Moor, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5746Related to: Northern cairn; Three Barrows on Ugborough Moor, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5830Related to: Southern cairn; Three Barrows on Ugborough Moor, South Brent (Monument)
MDV5673Related to: Three Barrows Reave on Ugborough Moor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8082 - Survey of the Upper Erme Valley

Date Last Edited:Jan 18 2022 9:06AM