The culture of the Neolithic Age in Britain established itself particularly firmly in the chalk districts which have their centre in, and radiate from, Salisbury Plain, as is shown by the distribution of some of the most characteristic monuments of the culture, the Long Barrows. Here the open or thinly wooded downland offered every advantage for the pasture of flocks and herds and for early experiments in agriculture, while flint, essential for the tools and weapons of the time, was readily obtainable.
One extension of the chalk, running south-west from Salisbury, forms the great ridge of the Dorset downs. This ridge falls abruptly on its northern side, but to the south it slopes more gently, and is furrowed by a number of pleasant valleys, which eventually find their way to the sea either at Christchurch or Poole Harbours.
At Blandford, the ridge is cleft by the narrow valley of the River Stour, and the whole area between Salisbury and Blandford lies within the ancient bounds of Cranborne Chase.
On this part of the ridge, which rises to 911 feet at Win Green, is an important concentration of Long Barrows. They number 32, and all except four of them are on the southern slopes, roughly between the 400 and 200 feet contours. They are frequently, but not always, situated on the summit of the spurs of the main ridge which separate one side valley from another.