Bow Hill barrows, West Sussex


Location: SU 819 110
These round barrows are a bit of an enigma and are certainly amongst the most spectacular examples on the South Downs.  They are arranged in a linear fashion on a wide spur within the Kingley Vale National Nature Reserve.

Kingley Vale bell barrow

Well-preserved bell barrow on Kingley Vale Nature Reserve. Early Bronze Age in date, it is one of four mounds in a line on this prominent ridge. In the immediate vicinity, there is a wide range of other, equally impressive, archaeological sites including enclosures, hillforts, linear boundaries and burnt mounds.

Words can't really do justice to the spectacular vista from the spur - views all along the coastal plain and across to the Isle of Wight.  The barrows, also known as the 'Devil's Humps' or the 'King's Graves', have been excavated in the past but no record survives, so we are uncertain of the date. 

They are likely to be Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age in origin but it is entirely plausible that they were re-used in the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods.

Access to the sites isn't as daunting as would first appear!  Approach from the car park to the west of West Stoke House and follow the well signposted trail. 

For the more energetic visitor there is much to see on the Reserve including at least two Iron Age hillforts, linear boundaries and burnt mounds, as well as a magnificent Yew forest.

Bow Hill bell barrows

The round barrows on Bow Hill, West Sussex, lie on a ridge with fantastic views to the south along the coast. There are four massive barrow mounds here, as well as a smaller number of less monumental individuals, and they were probably constructed some time around 1800 BC.

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