A double stone alignment 975m north west of Kingsford Gate Cross.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include burial mounds (`barrows'), standing stones, stone settings and stone alignments.
Stone alignments (also known as stone rows) are rare on Exmoor and they can occur as single rows, double rows, or, extremely rarely, as a combination of the two types. They can vary in length from 12m to 420m, with the stones usually set at close intervals. Stone alignments were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during these periods. The recorded examples on Exmoor form an important subgroup of the total population and all are considered to be of national importance.
Despite some damage through the construction of a road and later cultivation, the double stone alignment 975m north west of Kingsford Gate Cross survives comparatively well and being largely protected by its submergence in peat deposits will probably contain a considerable quantity of environmental evidence. The number of quartz stones present, known to have held ritual significance during prehistory, is also important and appears to signify a specific reason for their inclusion. The stone rows will contain archaeological evidence relating to their construction, function, territorial significance, ritual practices, social organisation and overall landscape context through time.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 17 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 a double stone alignment situated close to the summit of a prominent ridge to the north of Five Barrows Hill and to the south of Comerslade. The double stone row survives as up to 166 small stones, most no higher than 0.1m in two parallel rows which are up to 420m long, orientated north west to south east and are preserved as largely buried features, the number of stones visible depends upon the dampness of the surrounding peaty soil and the length of the vegetation. Many of the observed small stones are of quartz whilst others are of sandstone or slate. The number of quartz stones in the row is thought to have been the reason for its local name ‘White Ladder’ which was mentioned in the last Exmoor Perambulation in 1815 and appears on the Enclosure map of 1819. The stone alignments were rediscovered in 1975 and surveyed for the North Devon Archaeological Society. The row has been partially cut by a road which is not included in the scheduling and follows the county boundary between Devon and Somerset for some distance.
Other surrounding mounds and rows which have been recorded in the past are not currently visible on the ground.