Stone circle, cairn alignment, cider millstone and boundary ditch 410m south east of Sourton Tors


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1007827.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 20-Oct-2021 at 08:09:33.


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

West Devon (District Authority)
LCPs of Bridestowe and Sourton
West Devon (District Authority)
Okehampton Hamlets
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 54690 89678

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 circles, or circular arrangements of upright stones, were set into the ground and acted as ceremonial and funerary monuments during the later Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (c.2400-700 BC). On Dartmoor they are often found in association with stone alignments and burial monuments such as cairns and cists. The circles may be single or enclose further circles; they may occur as isolated examples or in groups. The 26 examples on Dartmoor form one of the most dense concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Due to their relative rarity (with a national population of only some 200 examples) and longevity as a monument type, all stone circles are considered to be nationally important.

In addition to the stone circle, a cairn alignment survives within this monument. The term cairn alignment has been used to describe a row of cairns and it has been argued that the function is similar to that of stone alignments. This cairn alignment is the only known example on Dartmoor. The stone circle and cairn alignment 410m south east of Sourton Tors survive comparatively well and together form an unusual combination of Bronze Age ritual monuments. The millstone and boundary ditch represent evidence for subsequent land use during the post-medieval period.


This monument includes a stone circle, cairn alignment, cider mill and a short length of boundary ditch with bank situated on level ground on the saddle between Sourton Tors and Corn Ridge. The stone circle includes a 32m diameter ring of 18 stones. Every stone is now lying on the ground and no attempt has been made to re-erect them. The stones would originally have stood up to 1.8m high. Originally they were regularly spaced at about 2.5m intervals but many are now missing as a result of stone working. The cairn alignment is orientated NNE to SSW and includes a 344.5m long row of 74 small cairns with a large mound at either end. The diameters of the small cairns range from 1m to 2.5m and their heights from 0.1m to 0.4m, with a spacing of between 4m and 6m. The cairn at the southern end measures 10m in diameter and stands up to 0.4m high. A number of shallow hollows in the surface of the mound suggest partial early excavation or robbing. The cairn at the northern end measures 13m in diameter and 0.8m high. A number of stone slabs set around the perimeter of the mound indicate the presence of a kerb which now survives largely as a buried feature. The surface of this cairn is also pitted with shallow hollows indicating previous robbing or partial excavation. The cider millstone lies 6m from the cairn alignment and includes half of the lower stone of a cider mill. This stone was made nearby but discarded during transport from the Moor. A cider mill consisted of an annular trough in which ran a millstone, set on its edge. The diameter of this stone is 2.28m. Its thickness at the margin is 0.43m and at its centre 0.68m. The depth and width of the annular trough is 0.17m. The post-medieval boundary ditch cuts through the cairn alignment and includes a 6m wide and 1m deep flat-bottomed ditch with a 3m wide and 0.8m high bank sitting on both edges.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 219
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 219
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 384
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in A Cairn Alignment On Sourton Common, Dartmoor, (1991), 143-144
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in A Cairn Alignment On Sourton Common, Dartmoor, (1991), 143-144
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58NW2,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX58NW4,


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected].