The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Council Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


Council Barrow - 28.3.2004

If driving North on the A30 technically you can come off the A30 at SX100703 (just past the cow 'traffic lights'), and the barrow is directly on your right. In reality this is one of those amazing Cornish dual carriageway turnoffs that give you very little chance to slow down. Making that turn at this tiny junction would be almost impossible unless you knew exactly where the turn was and you had no traffic behind you. The junction before this one is a bit better (circa SX092693).

So, otherwise you can come via the scrubby looking land from the west, either from the country lanes to the north west, or from Bodmin. From Bodmin take the Old Callywith Rd but instead of getting onto the A30 slip road (circa SX084679) take the road signposted 'Helland'; and drive almost parallel to the A30 until you bear left and over two cattle grids. At the next junction take a right. At the end of this lane the Council barrow sits just off the A30 'junction' in a sad little layby. What an absolute mess! Tyre tracks circle the barrow and also go straight up and over the top! Abandoned farm machinery also spoils it and I guess the farm gate on the North side also doesn't help. Litter and fly tipping is also all around. When I get my picture back I'll send a copy of it to the Cornwall Archaeological Unit. This may not be the most important ancient site in Cornwall but nothing deserves to be treated like this!

I was so shocked at this pitiful site and forgot to think how big it is. I'd guess about 15m in diameter and 2m high.
pure joy Posted by pure joy
4th April 2004ce
Edited 4th April 2004ce

Comments (1)

I recently attended a lecture (Oct '08) where this barrow was mentioned by the placename expert Dr Oliver Padel. Apologies to him if I only half-remember what he said about this barrow but my recall is that he considered it to be of great significance. The barrow is almost in the centre of Cornwall near a point where the old hundred divisions used to meet. It is also by the A30 which follows a very ancient route through Cornwall. The barrow is also near a feature which he called the "Great Ditch".

The name is of interest as the word "Council" is English not Cornish as one might expect. This led Dr Padel to speculate that this may have been a point where tenants of the Saxons in circa C10th would have had to meet to pay manorial dues and receive manorial justice. This in turn may have some connection with the old Cornish Hundred of Wivelshire (meaning the "two fold shire" which comprised south east Cornwall).
Posted by Trevean
18th October 2008ce
You must be logged in to add a comment