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 hut circles and hut settlements
were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date
from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building
tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low
walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch
roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups
and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although
they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
Despite partial excavation, the enclosed stone hut circle settlement on the
south slope of White Tor survives comparatively well and forms part of a
scattered group of at least seven enclosed settlements situated on the slopes
of White Tor. It lies on the edge of a tin streamworks which makes it a
likely source of information relating to Prehistoric tinworking.
Both the huts and enclosures contain archaeological remains and environmental
evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was
constructed and, as such, provide a valuable source of information concerning
the nature of Bronze Age occupation and land use on the west side of the Moor.
This monument includes an enclosed stone hut circle settlement situated on a
gentle south-facing slope of White Tor overlooking the valley of the Colly
Brook. Thirteen stone hut circles are associated with three separate
enclosures. The interior of the eastern enclosure measures c.30m north-east
to south-west and is defined by a wall of orthostatic construction 2.2m wide
and 0.3m high. Only the northern half of the enclosure wall is visible above
ground, although the remainder of its circuit probably survives as a buried
Two stone hut circles are attached to the fragmentary eastern length of the
enclosure boundary. The interior of the northern enclosure is sub-oval in
shape, measures 100m north-east to south-west by 65m north-west to south-east
and is defined by an orthostatic wall measuring 2m wide and 0.6m high. Two
gaps in the northern wall may be original entrances. Two stone hut circles
lie within the enclosure. The southern length of the enclosure forms part of
a funnel shaped entrance passage leading into the centre of the settlement.
The other side of this entrance is formed by the northern boundary wall of the
third enclosure which is irregular in shape, has internal maximum dimensions
of c.160m north to south by 75m west to east and is defined by an orthostat
wall 2.2m wide and 0.4m high. Two apparent gaps in the western and southern
walls respectively may be the result of limited stone robbing or more likely
the walls remain buried beneath an accumulation of peat.
A short length of walling leading westwards from this enclosure may have
originally been part of a more extensive field system or be part of a dam used
to control water on the site for domestic purposes. Five stone hut circles
lie within this enclosure and three are attached to the boundary wall. Eight
of the thirteen stone hut circles are oval in plan and measure between 2.5m
and 5.4m long and 2.2m and 4.8m wide. The remainder are circular and measure
between 3.1m and 6.4m in diameter. The walls of all the huts are composed of
stone and earth and measure between 0.5m and 0.7m high. One hut has an annexe.
All of the stone hut circles were partially excavated by the Dartmoor
Exploration Committee in 1905. This work recovered pottery, cooking stones,
flint, a sling stone, charcoal, a lump of possible copper ore, iron ore and an
iron horseshoe. A number of huts were found to have paved floors.
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.