The tumulus at Fox Hill is a round barrow. It is in farmland close to the A614 between Nafferton and Burton Agnes in East Yorkshire. Nearby is a large picnic area off the main road where you can park. The A614 is a very busy road and definitely not somewhere you can park or walk safely. From the picnic area, there is a footpath leading to a nearby farm. The footpath runs alongside the edge of the field housing the tumulus. (See the Google map, the path is clear to see).
Bowl Barrows. These are the most common type of round barrow. They date from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Most of them were built between 2400 BC and 1500 BC. They were constructed as earth mounds, sometimes with a surrounding ditch. The mounds cover one or many burials. There are over 10,000 bowl barrows recorded across most of lowland Britain. Many more have been destroyed. They provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisations amongst prehistoric communities.
History of Fox Hill
There aren’t any records of any excavations at the site. Although it has been identified as a Bronze Age barrow, its large size means it could be a Roman burial mound, and/or a Medieval thing mound.
Things or moot mounds were open-air meeting places. These were used by the various administrative bodies who organised the countryside in Anglo-Saxon and Medieval England. They were usually located at conspicuous or well-known sites such as hilltops, barrows and hillforts.
It’s possible that’s where the name originates. It’s thought Folk’s Hill may have been the original name that has changed over time to Fox Hill.
So, the barrow may have had several uses throughout its history. The mound itself is between 3 and 4 metres high and has an oval shape. The edge of the barrow sitting next to the field boundary has retained the original larger, circular shape. The other sides have obviously been damaged and modified by farming activity over the years. The trees have grown relatively recently.
Unusual for a barrow, this is the only one in the local area. You have to travel to Rudston Beacon two and a half miles away to find the nearest concentration of barrows.
The tumulus is some distance across the field from the nearest access and all the surrounding fields are protected by barbed wire fencing. I couldn’t find anywhere where you can easily (or legally) walk to the site.
The first time I visited it was a cold and wet, late winter morning. I thought it looked a rather forlorn place, neglected and seemingly forgotten about. The second time I visited, it was a nice sunny day and as you can see the tumulus takes on a different character in the sunlight.
Please don’t think about walking up the verge on the A614 it’s very busy and traffic is passing at high speed.