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Round Barrow(s)

Also known as:
  • Winsford Hill
  • Winsford 1, 2 & 3

Nearest Town:Minehead (16km NNE)
OS Ref (GB):   SS876343 / Sheet: 181
Latitude:51° 5' 47.05" N
Longitude:   3° 36' 19.3" W

Added by Rhiannon

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Visited 12.2.12

Very easy site to access – large N.T. parking area. The 3 Barrows are right next to the road / parking area.

It is only a 2 minute walk from the car park – through knee height heather.

This is a stunning setting with fantastic views in all directions. You can see for miles and miles and miles…………………………..

Although it was a beautiful day it was starting to get colder. Karen, Dafydd and Sophie stayed in the car while I tramped through the heather. It must have been getting cold as my pen stopped working until I warmed it up!

The largest of the Barrows (furthest from car park) is covered in heather but didn’t look like it had been dug into - although it was hard to say with all the heather.

The other two Barrows were much more defined although both had clearly been dug into – no doubt someone looking for treasure!!

The two smaller Barrows are approximately 20 metres across – the largest 30 metres across. All 3 Barrows are about 2 metres high. There is a trig point on one of the smaller Barrows.

The views really are something.
Well worth visiting when in the area.
Posted by CARL
14th February 2012ce


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A few years ago it was whispered at Dulverton that a local gentleman - none other than Mr. Arthur Locke, the then secretary of the Devon and Somerset Staghounds - had "seed something" near the Wambarrows. We have never inquired of the genial squire whether there was any truth in the story, having, perhaps hastily, assumed that it was apocryphal, but it is a fact that the spot is supposed to be haunted by a black dog - first cousin of the Irish manthe dog.
From A Book of Exmoor by F J Snell (1903).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st January 2014ce

The Farmer of Houghton was very friendly with the pixies. He used to leave a floorful of corn when he was shorthanded, and the pixies would thresh it for him. They did an immense amount of work until one night the farmer's wife peeped through the key-hole and saw them hard at it, and thought it a crying shame that they should go naked and cold. So she made some clothes for them and left them on the threshing floor, and after that there was no more help from the pixies. They did not forget the farmer however, for one day, soon after Withypool Church bells were hung, the pixy father met him on an upland field.
'Wilt give us a lend of thy plough and tackle?' (pack horses and their crooks).
'What do 'ee want un vor?' the farmer asked.
'I do want to take my goodwife and littlings out of the noise of they ding dongs.'
The farmer trusted the pixies and lent them his horses, and they moved, lock, stock and barrel, to Winsford Hill. And presently the old pack-horses trotted back looking like beautiful two-year-olds.
Some Late Accounts of the Fairies
K. M. Briggs
Folklore, Vol. 72, No. 3. (Sep., 1961), pp. 509-519.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
12th October 2006ce

These three dented bronze age barrows hide some treasure, which is guarded by a big black dog. Ruth Tongue describes the fearsome beast in 'Somerset Folklore' (1965) :
On Winsford Hill on autumn nights a traveller may be stopped by a black hound with glowing saucer eyes. If he tries to advance he will die, either at once or very soon, but if he stands still the dog will slowly vanish until only its eyes still glow. As soon as they disappear the traveller is free to move on, but some lesser ill-luck will follow. There was once a farmer whose frightened pony danced near to the spectre before he could stop it. The farmer did not die, it was the pony who collapsed half a mile from home.
The barrows are probably also the home of pixies, lately moved from the Brightworthy Barrows.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd August 2005ce
Edited 18th August 2005ce


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Details of barrows on Pastscape

Three bowl barrows:-
Winsford 1, SS 87563431. 33 paces diameter and 3.5 ft high.
Winsford 2, SS 87613430. 21 paces diameter and 4 ft high with large hollow in centre.
Winsford 3, SS 87683428. 25 paces diameter and 5 ft high with hollow in centre. (4)
The most western (Grinsell's Winsford 1) has been truncated and is 1.3m high.
The central barrow (Winsford 2) has had an irregular pit dug into the top and has a maximum height of 1.7m.
The eastern barrow, 1.7m high, has had a pit 1.1m deep dug into the top.
Wambarrows listed, details as Authy 4. Visited by Grinsell 6th April 1958. The Wambarrows were mentioned in a boundary perambulation of 1219. (6)

Wambarrows, mentioned in Exmoor Forest perambulations of 1219 and 1279 as `Wamburg' and `Wimbureghe' respectively.
This group of three barrows with an outlier (see SS 83 SE 3) occupy the summit of Winsford Hill and have panoramic views. They lie on heather moorland now owned by the National Trust. The group is close to the modern B3223, and an adjacent lay-by results in considerable visitor access, which has caused some erosion of the barrows themselves and the surrounding ground surface (see individual descriptions below). Winsford Hill is largely covered with a late medieval/post-medieval field system comprising earthen banks and ridge and furrow. This system has encroached on the barrows in several places.

SS 8756 3432 (Grinsell Winsford 1). A heather and grass-covered circular mound measuring 27.7 m N-S by 28.8 m and 1.8 m high. The summit is uneven and slopes noticably to the north, suggesting that the barrow, which is skirted on its southern side by a field bank, has been overploughed by ridge and furrow.
The barrow has been further disturbed by a modern track which passes it on its northern side.

SS 8761 3430 (Grinsell, Winsford 2). This barrow has been fenced around to protect it from erosion. It consists of a circular mound 17.6 m in diameter with a very disturbed summit. The eastern part of the summit survives to its original height (1.8 m), whilst the central and western part has been extensively robbed away, probably for road building, and is now only 0.9 m high. Subsequent to this robbing, a sub rectangular pit, 5.3 m by 3.4 m and 0.6 m deep has been dug into the south-western quadrant.

SS 8768 3429 (Grinsell, Winsford 3). A very well defined barrow, comprising a circular mound 21.7 m in diameter and 1.9 m high. A massive, steep-sided, sub-square pit, 8-9 m across, has been dug into its centre, leaving only an outer rim standing.
The barrow lies in the corner of a former field, and is skirted by a field bank on its eastern and southern sides. Very slight north-south ridge and furrow runs up onto the barrow on its north-eastern quadrant. More recent disturbance has taken place in the form of an OS triangulation pillar mentioned by Grinsell as being on the barrow, but which is now close by on its south-eastern side. Visitor erosion has caused extensive erosion, but this is now being managed through the use of nylon meshing to consolidate and preserve the ground surface. (8)

SS 876343. Wambarrows on Winsford Hill, forming part of a barrow cemetery. Scheduled. (9)
Chance Posted by Chance
27th December 2014ce