Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and associated fields north of Standon Down


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


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

West Devon (District Authority)
Peter Tavy
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 55031 82489

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.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement with its associated fields to the north of Standon Down is one of the largest Bronze Age settlements on Dartmoor and, despite partial excavation, important and informative archaeological structures, features and deposits still survive. The close relationship between the fields and buildings provides an insight into agricultural practice. The multi-phase character of the site makes it a good source of information relating to the development of upland settlements and agricultural techniques.


This monument includes sixty-seven stone hut circles, one post-medieval shelter, a shieling of medieval or post-medieval date and at least twenty fields situated on a gentle west-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Tavy and forming the greater part of the large unenclosed stone hut circle settlement north of Standon Down. Fifty-six of the stone hut circles are attached to boundary walls. Sixty-six of the huts are circular in plan and the internal diameters of these huts vary from 1.8m to 8.8m, with the average being 4.19m. Only one hut is oval in plan and this measures 3.2m long by 2m wide and has a wall standing up to 0.6m high. The average height of all the walls is 0.73m. At least one of the huts contains a hearth, two have porches, one has an internal partition wall and two have benches. The field system associated with the settlement includes around twenty irregular fields. In most cases the boundaries abut the huts suggesting that the fields were added at some date after the settlement was established. The post-medieval shepherd's shelter built into one of the earlier stone hut circles is composed of drystone coursed walling and measures 1.8m long by 1.4m wide and stands up to 0.5m high. The doorway faces south. The shieling is situated on the southern edge of the settlement and is a rectangular one roomed structure with coursed drystone walls and measures 6m long by 4.4m wide and has 1.3m wide walls standing up to 0.6m high. It is possible that material from an underlying stone hut circle was robbed to erect this building. During July 1901 forty-three of the stone hut circles were partially excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Considerable quantities of charcoal were found together with cooking stones, pottery and flint artefacts.

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
Fox, A, South West England, (1964)
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Eighth Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 34, (1902)
Radford, C A R, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Prehistoric Settlements on Dartmoor and the Cornish Moors, , Vol. 18, (1952)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Schofield,A.J., MPP Single Monument Class Descriptions - Shielings, (1989)


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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