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Showery Tor

Introduction to site

Showery Tor lies about 400m along the ridge running north-east from Rough Tor on Bodmin Moor. The slopes and summit of this ridge are the focus of one of the most spectacular expanses of prehistoric settlements, fields and funerary sites in the country.

Showery Tor lies in open access moorland. It is most easily reached from the car park at Roughtor from which it is a hike of about 1.75km.

The site is free to visit, and is open any reasonable time in daylight hours.

There are refreshment facilties available at Rough Tor Farm, on the road to/from the car park at Roughtor Ford.

There are no public transport links directly/close to the area of the site. There are bus services to Camelford. Visit the Traveline website for customised sustainable transport options. 

View our interactive Access to Monuments map to find this and other nearby sites.

The prominent summit of Showery Tor is crowned by a ring cairn – a 3m high roughly doughnut-shaped heap of stones surrounding the central stack. This is a rare form of monument and only about 40-50 are known to exist, concentrated on the moors of Devon and Cornwall. These sites occupy prominent locations and are a highly visible element of the moorland landscape. They date to the Early and Middle Bronze Age and excavated examples have revealed traces of internal post-holes and pits, some of which contain evidence of burial remains and ceremonial activities. Often occurring as isolated hilltop monuments, they are also sometimes found in proximity to cairn cemeteries and settlements. The evidence from the few modern excavations which have taken place on the moorlands of the south west suggest that these different kinds of sites are not contemporary, however, and represent several phases of occupation over many centuries.

The Early and Middle Bronze Age is significant as a time of monument building, with later sites often incorporating or visibly acknowledging structures from the preceding phases. The Neolithic tor enclosure on Rough Tor dominates the surrounding moorland and has been embraced and colonised by later communities, signifying its continuing importance within the rich prehistoric landscape. Many of the monuments from these periods are thought to have ritual and ceremonial functions or associations, and are thought to be the physical manifestation of the beliefs and practices of the people who created them. They survive as the only evidence or visible indication of how Bronze Age people viewed their world, structured their lives, built their homes and treated their dead. Although we may never completely understand what these impressive monuments meant to their builders, their powerful presence in the landscape persists and they continue to inspire even today.