Prehistoric and later enclosure containing a stone hut circle 1.2km NNE of Fernacre Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric and later enclosure containing a stone hut circle 1.2km NNE of Fernacre Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
St. Breward
National Grid Reference:
SX 15212 80810

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.

Within the landscape of Bodmin Moor are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of earth and stone, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000 - 700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circle settlements for farmers or herders. The stone hut circles so contained were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on the Moor, mostly dating to the Bronze Age. These stone-based round houses survive as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of a turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The longevity of use of both enclosures and stone hut circles and their relationships with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. This enclosure with its contained stone hut circle on the eastern slope of Roughtor has survived well. Its proximity to other broadly contemporary funerary, ritual and settlement monuments indicates the nature of land use and farming activities during the Bronze Age, while the enclosure's refurbishment during the medieval and post-medieval periods and its subsequent lapse into disuse demonstrate the continuity of prehistoric boundaries amid changing land use regimes in this remote upland landscape from the prehistoric period to the present day.


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosure, refurbished in the medieval and post-medieval periods and now disused, containing a prehistoric stone hut circle and situated in a remote position on the lower eastern slope of Roughtor, in the upper valley of the De Lank River on north west Bodmin Moor. The enclosure is visible as a pentagonal area of 0.4 hectares measuring internally 66m NNE-SSW by 68m maximum WSW-ENE. Its perimeter is defined, in its final, post-medieval, form by an earthen bank up to 1.75m wide and 1m high, faced, along its outer side only, by a vertical dry-stone wall of boulders and coursed rubble. A largely silted ditch, up to 1.75m wide and 0.4m deep, runs immediately outside the bank and pertains to the earlier, medieval, form of the enclosure bank. An entrance gap, 1.5m wide, is present on the enclosure's north side, flanked by slabs up to 1.4m high. The relatively recent refurbishment of this enclosure is evidenced by corroded stumps of iron fence posts at intervals along the crest of the bank. The earlier, medieval use of this enclosure as an isolated cultivation plot is indicated by two features. The form of the earthen bank, stone-faced and ditched only on its outer side, is characteristic of a medieval corn-ditch, providing a steep obstacle to stock trying to enter the plot but facilitating their escape if they became trapped inside. Studies of corn-ditches on nearby Dartmoor indicate their construction there, due to legal constraints, during and before the 12th century. Medieval use is also indicated by a series of cultivation ridges, low parallel banks up to 2m wide and 0.1m high, visible on a WNW-ESE axis in parts of the enclosure surface. An even earlier, prehistoric, origin for the enclosure is characterised by the focal position of its contained and intact stone hut circle which results in the enclosure including quite densely boulder-strewn areas within its western and southern extent that could have been avoided if laying out a cultivation plot afresh on this largely open hillslope with extensive stone-free areas. The inclusion of the stone-spreads indicates that the medieval enclosure was constructed with minimum effort by refurbishing a prehistoric enclosure already in existence with boundaries respecting the hut circle at its centre. The hut circle survives with a circular wall of heaped rubble, up to 1.4m wide and 0.3m high, incorporating occasional outer facing slabs and an almost complete circuit of inner facing slabs up to 0.7m high. The wall defines a circular internal area, 5.5m in diameter, levelled into the hillslope. A break, 0.6m wide, in the wall's eastern sector marks the entrance, flanked on each side by unusually large slabs, 0.9m across. Some 70m to the SSW of this monument is a linear group of nine broadly contemporary small cairns located along the valley side, as well as other broadly contemporary settlement sites, field systems, funerary and ritual monuments on the slopes of Roughtor.

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
Fleming, A, Ralph, N, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Settlement And Land Use On Holne Moor, Dartmoor, , Vol. 26, (1982)
1992, Carter, A/Fletcher, M J /RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription and field trace for SX 1580,
consulted 1992, Carter, A/Fletcher, M J /RCHME, 1:2500 AP transcription and field trace for SX 1580-1,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3519,
consulted 1992, Cornwall SMR entry for PRN 3520,


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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