Two cairns at Ausewell Rocks


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002541

Date first listed: 19-Jan-1962


Ordnance survey map of Two cairns at Ausewell Rocks
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: Ashburton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 73471 71743, SX 73539 71729


Two round cairns at Ausewell Rocks, 500m south west of Ausewell Cross.

Reasons for Designation

Dartmoor is the largest expanse of open moorland in southern Britain and, because of exceptional conditions of preservation, it is also one of the most complete examples of an upland relict landscape in the whole country. The great wealth and diversity of archaeological remains provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the early prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, major land boundaries, trackways, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains, gives significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain.

Despite significant disturbance through early excavations and deliberate re-modelling of the cairns in more recent times, and their location within a woodland with the threat of wind throw and root action, the two round cairns at Ausewell Rocks 500m south west of Ausewell Cross survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, use, ritual and funerary functions and landscape context.


See Details.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes two round cairns situated on the summit of a prominent hill on the northern side of the River Dart as it loops around Holne Chase. The western cairn survives as a circular stony flat topped mound measuring 18m in diameter and up to 3m high. It has a deep central hollow a result of early excavation and some of the loose stones have been used to construct a low crescent shaped wall on the western side. The eastern cairn survives as a circular flat topped stony mound measuring up to 18m in diameter and 2m high. It also has a central hollow and two further trenches driven from the margin to the centre and the loose stone has been rearranged to form three small circular chambers around the periphery.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: DV 476

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape Monument No:-445275

End of official listing