Two hut circles N of Lower Blackaton


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1002625

Date first listed: 21-May-1974


Ordnance survey map of Two hut circles N of Lower Blackaton
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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: Widecombe in the Moor

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 69426 78778, SX 69465 78777


Two ring cairns 800m north of Lower Blackaton.

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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The two ring cairns 780m north of Lower Blackaton survive well and contain archaeological and environmental information relating to this area during the prehistoric period. The western cairn, in particular, is unusual in having a surviving ditch and a cist or chamber. Both cairns form an outlying part of a cluster of large cairns situated in prominent positions within this part of Dartmoor. It is considered that as a group they formed important territorial markers.


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 12 November 2015. This 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 areas, includes two ring cairns situated on a gentle north-facing slope overlooking the valley of the West Webburn River. The western ring cairn survives as a 2.4m wide circular bank surrounding a 6.1m diameter internal area. An edge-set stone within the south eastern part of the cairn may represent the remains of a kerb which survives elsewhere as a buried feature. An irregular shaped mound measuring up to 0.25m high in the centre of the cairn may represent a central mound. The eastern cairn survives as a 2m wide bank surrounding a 10m diameter internal area. A small number of edge set-stones within this bank suggests the survival of a kerb. A 4.9m wide slight hollow surrounding the outer edge of the cairn bank represents the quarry ditch from which material was removed during the construction of the cairn. Within the south eastern part of the ring cairn are a group of six upright slabs standing up to 0.6m high and denoting the outer edge of a rectangular hollow measuring 0.3m deep. This structure may represent the remains of a cist or chamber. A small mound measuring 4.2m in diameter and standing up to 0.7m high stands 0.6m from the north eastern edge of the ring cairn. A small central hollow may suggest an early partial excavation, but its position within the ditch surrounding the ring cairn suggests that it is more likely to be of more recent origin.


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

Legacy System number: DV 891

Legacy System: RSM - OCN


PastScape: 442463

End of official listing