Bill Hill Ancient Monument

Bill Hill by Marlies Boydell, April 2011

Bill Hill is a public open space and wildlife haven in Bracknell. It consists of a naturally wooded hillock that rises sharply from grassland off Downshire Way. From the trees cloaking the hilltop you gain a fascinating perspective on the town’s high rise offices and apartment blocks.

Facilities and key features

Bill Hill is a Bronze Age round barrow. An ancient monument of considerable historic importance can be found at the top of the hill. The site is crossed by footpath/cycleways that serve the town centre.

Archaeological value

At the top of the hill, on its eastern side, is a circular mound of earth, hollowed out in the centre. This is the remains of a Bronze Age tumulus or round barrow, an example of a prehistoric monument that can be found all over Britain. Round barrows were used as burial mounds from the Neolithic period (c2200 BC) right through the Bronze Age (c1000 BC) and again in the Anglo Saxon period. They may cover individual or multiple burials and may also have been used for cremations.

Bill Hill has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument since the 1950s, which means that it is recognised nationally as an important archaeological site and is protected by law. Before features such as round barrows were given legal protection, a great many were partly or completely levelled by land use, although they can often still be detected as distinctive markings on the ground on aerial photographs. In addition, many tumuli were disturbed by the early barrow diggers of the late 18th and 19th centuries. The hollow in the top of Bill Hill barrow may well have been the result of an early unrecorded excavation of this sort.

Further information about barrow construction can be found on the English Heritage website.

Wildlife value

The prime habitat is the semi-natural broad-leaved woodland covering the hillside. This is dominated by mature beech, with oak, and a diverse range of other native trees and shrubs in the understorey including silver birch and rowan.

Ground flora includes some patches of bluebell which provide a colourful display in the spring and other typical woodland herbs. Dead and decaying wood provide a valuable habitat for woodpeckers and stag beetles.

How to get there

There is no car park from which to access Bill Hill. The best place to park is in Crowthorne Road to the north east of the mound (near the Green Man Pub), RG12 7DL. For directions to Bill Hill please visit our location map

Get involved

To find out more about getting involved with nature conservation activities in your local area visit:

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