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. Stone alignments or stone rows
consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more
parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often
physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and
barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The
Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000
BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half
the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and
longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally
important, unless very badly damaged.
Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major
features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive
system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age, around
1700 BC. They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete
territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are
defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land
from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of
adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments
are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their
longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important
information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and
farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable
longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in
medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape
and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.
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 densest concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain.
The stone alignment, two round cairns and length of Walkhampton Common reave
survive comparatively well and together contribute to the evidence for
changing patterns of land use on Dartmoor.
This monument includes a stone alignment, two round cairns and a length of
Walkhampton Common reave lying in a valley between Sharpitor and Leeden Tors
overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. The western cairn mound is flat
topped, measures 7m in diameter and stands up to 0.4m high and lies at the
western end of the stone alignment. The alignment extends almost due east for
26m from the cairn and has nine stones including three pairs. The stones are
between 0.1m and 0.3m high and the pairs are so close set that this double
row is narrower than any other known Dartmoor example. The east end of the
row is 6m from the Walkhampton Common reave and it is likely that the eastern
extent of the row was removed during the building of the reave.
The Walkhampton Common reave separates the Meavy and Walkham valleys with a
remarkably straight central section, overgrown by peat. The reave can be
traced from Sharpitor to the lower slopes of North Hessary Tor, a total
distance of 3170m. A 380m length of the reave is protected by this scheduling,
other lengths forming parts of other schedulings. Within the area of this
scheduling, the reave survives as a 3m wide stony bank standing up to 0.8m
high. In places limited robbing of the reave bank has occurred and there are
a number of small breaches caused by trackways passing through the boundary.
The second cairn lies 7m east of the reave and the mound measures 7.8m in
diameter and stands up to 0.7m high. A shallow hollow in the centre of the
mound, measuring 2.5m long by 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep, suggests robbing or
partial early excavation.
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.