Beacon Plantation
Neolithic Long Barrow
Northwest of Swaby, Lincolnshire  OS Map Ref TF37207759
OS Maps - Landranger 122 (Skegness & Horncastle), Explorer 273 (Lincolnshire Wolds South)

Beacon Plantation - central section looking northwest
Beacon Plantation long barrow, looking northwest along the central spine of the mound as it disappears into the trees. Photograph taken from the southern end of the central section (View 1).
Beacon Plantation PlanLittle is known about this long barrow although it is one of the best preserved in the area and also the largest in Lincolnshire.

Situated in a small spinney known as Beacon Plantation it dates from the Neolithic and was constructed as a trapezoid mound that originally measured about 78 metres in length by 19 metres at its widest point tapering off in width and height from southeast to northwest. The barrow now survives as three raised sections joined by a pair of lower 'saddles' that occur towards either end of the earthwork.

The southern section consists of a circular mound that stands to a height of 2 metres with a distinct crater in its top and it is possible that this may actually be a later Bronze Age round barrow that was built into the earlier long barrow. This mound is also believed to have been used as a medieval beacon (hence the name of the site) and it could be that work on building the beacon accounts for the first saddle between the mound and the rest of the barrow although it is equally possible that it is the result of the collapse of some internal structure within the barrow. Phillips* notes that burnt earth dug from the site could either be from the beacon or the result of a deliberate firing of a wooden mortuary structure in a similar fashion to some long barrows in East Yorkshire such as Willerby Wold. This firing and the subsequent collapse of the burnt material would certainly account for the lower level of the earth at this point.

A second saddle that occurs towards the north remains unexplained but the fact that the northern section veers in a slightly more westerly direction from this point would suggest either another collapsed structure or that this section was not constructed at the same time as the rest of the barrow.

Unlike many long barrows in Lincolnshire the earthwork of Beacon Plantation traverses the contours of the landscape rather than following them but in other respects its location, standing below the crest of a high ridge that overlooks a valley (in this case of the Great Eau), is typical of the area.

Sometimes known as 'Walmsgate', this is an easy barrow to find, it is right next to the A16 between Walmsgate and White Pit and just to the south of a large layby on the southbound side of the road.

See also: Lincolnshire Long Barrows Introduction and site list.

*CW Phillips - The Long Barrows of Lincolnshire - 1932
Beacon Plantation southern end of the central section
Looking north at the southern end of the central section as seen from ground level (View 2).
Beacon Plantation central section
Looking south at the central section from the small plantation that gives the barrow its name (View 3).
Beacon Plantation  southern section
The southern section of the barrow with its crater clearly visible (View 4). This picture was taken from the southern end of the central section and the 'saddle' that occurs between these two part of the barrow is the lower ground in the foreground. It is unknown if this is the result of internal collapse or later modifications of the barrow.
Beacon Plantation  northern section
The northern section of the barrow. This is somewhat lower than the central and southern parts (View 5).

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