The Bronze Age barrows on the downs of southern England have been investigated and discussed for nearly 200 years, but much less attention has been paid to similar structures in the areas of heathland beyond the chalk and river gravels. They were built in a phase of expansion towards the end of the Early Bronze Age, and more were constructed during the Middle Bronze Age. They have a number of distinctive characteristics. This paper considers the interpretation of these monuments and their wider significance in relation to the pattern of settlement. It also discusses the origins of field systems in lowland England.