Stone hut circle settlement and part of a coaxial field system at Watergate


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SX 11656 81383

Reasons for Designation

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Stone hut circles were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly dating from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. The huts occur singly or in small or large groups and may occur in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are characteristic of the Moor landscape. Coaxial field systems are one of several methods of land division employed during the Bronze Age; evidence from nearby Dartmoor, where they are more common, indicates their introduction around 1700 BC and their continued use until around 1000 BC. They consist of linear stone banks forming parallel boundaries running upslope to meet similar boundaries which run along the contours of the higher slopes, thereby separating the lower enclosed fields from the open grazing grounds of the higher Moor. The long strips formed by the parallel boundaries may be subdivided by cross-banks to form a series of rectangular field plots, each sharing a common long axis. Broadly contemporary occupation sites, comprising hut circle settlements, and funerary or ceremonial sites, may be found within these lower enclosed fields. Coaxial field systems are representative of their period and an important element in the existing landscape. Despite some stone robbing , the stone hut circle settlement and part of a coaxial field system at Watergate survives well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its development, longevity, farming practices, social organisation, domestic arrangements and overall landscape context.


The monument includes a stone hut circle settlement and part of a coaxial field system, protected within two separate areas, situated on the upper south facing slopes of a ridge, overlooking the valley of a tributary to the River Camel. To the west are up to five stone hut circles defined by walls of up to 1m high with internal diameters of 6.6m to 7.1m. At least one of the huts has an annexe or entrance porch at its southern entrance. The field system associated with these hut circles is rectilinear in layout and fairly slight, forming a grid pattern, and the huts themselves are fairly evenly spaced within it, often at the intersection of several boundaries. The eastern area survives as at least sixteen stone hut circles levelled into the hillside and preserved as stony banks with a few inner and outer stone facing slabs. The entrances to the hut circles are generally to the south east. They vary in size internally from 4.6m to 7.9m in diameter. Eleven of the hut circles are concentrated in an area of approximately 0.5ha on the extreme east of the associated field system. Those remaining are spread more evenly throughout the fields to the west with a single outlying hut to the north. The field system is strongly rectilinear in layout with at least four parallel stony lynchets up to 2.6m wide and 0.9m high which follow the contours of the landscape. These are subdivided into terraced rectangular fields by cross boundaries, banks of up to 2m wide and 0.5m high.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-434417 and 434506


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

Legacy System number:
CO 496
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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