An unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, an irregular aggregate field system, a length of reave and an enclosure on the south east slope of Leeden Tor
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- West Devon (District Authority)
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- SX 56390 71055
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.
Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are a major feature of the Dartmoor landscape. Irregular aggregate field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have been employed in south west England from the Bronze Age to the Roman period (c.2000BC-AD400). They comprise a collection of field plots, generally lacking conformity of orientation and arrangement, containing fields with sinuous outlines and varying shapes and sizes, bounded by stone or rubble walls or banks, ditches or fences. They are often located around or near ceremonial and funerary monuments. They are an important element of the existing landscape and are representative of farming practice over a long period. A substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. The stone hut circle settlements and field systems on the southern slopes of Leeden Tor survive comparatively well and form part of a rich and diverse archaeological resource. Archaeological structures, features and deposits in addition to environmental remains will survive intact and provide an insight into settlement and agricultural practice on the western side of the moor.
This monument includes an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement comprising
31 stone hut circles, an irregular aggregate field system, a length of
the Walkhampton Common reave, a number of post-medieval stone quarries and an
enclosure containing two further stone hut circles and a military shelter.
The monument is situated on the south east slope of Leeden Tor overlooking the
valley of the River Meavy.
Within the unenclosed stone hut circle settlement 30 of the huts are circular
in plan and measure between 1.2m and 8m in diameter. The remaining hut is oval
and measures 2.7m long by 2m wide. The walls of all the huts are composed of
stone and earth and measure between 0.2m and 0.8m high. The average diameter
of the circular huts is 3.22m and the average height of the walls is 0.43m.
One of the huts has an annexe, one has an internal partition, 11 have visible
doorways and 20 are attached to field walls.
The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement is distributed within an irregular
aggregate field system. This is divided into two main parts, separated by a
16m wide gap. The western part is attached to the Walkhampton Common reave
and includes eight field plots defined by a rubble bank measuring 2m wide and
standing up to 0.5m high. Six of the stone hut circles forming part of the
unenclosed settlement lie within the fields and ten are attached to the walls.
The eastern part includes at least four field plots defined by rubble banks.
Ten stone hut circles are attached to the field boundaries, another lies
within a field and one lies immediately outside the field system.
The enclosure lies within an area of dense clitter and is attached to the
eastern side of the Walkhampton Common reave. The interior of the enclosure
measures 74m north east to south west by 32m north west to south east and is
defined by a low rubble wall averaging 0.7m wide and 0.3m high. A short
length of boundary bank leading from the reave divides the interior of the
enclosure into two parts. One stone hut circle lies just to the north of the
enclosure and is attached to the eastern side of the reave. This structure
has an internal diameter of 2.5m defined by a 1.3m wide and 0.35m high rubble
wall. The second hut lies within the southern half of the enclosure, close to
the boundary wall. The internal diameter of this building is 2.7m and the
surrounding wall is 1.3m wide and 0.35m high. Both huts have doorways facing
east. Another drystone built structure sits on top of the northern length of
the enclosure boundary. This building is oval in plan and includes a 3m long
by 2m wide internal area defined by a 1m wide and 0.8m high drystone wall.
This structure is thought to be associated with military training.
A large number of small elongated stone quarries lie within the monument.
These consist of elongated hollows generally less than 5m wide and up to 2m
deep. These quarries were a source of building stone during the post-medieval
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
Gerrard, S, Military mortar emplacements on Dartmoor?, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE10,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE11,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE11-01,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE11-02,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE11-03,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE11-04,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE7,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE7-01,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE7-02,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE8,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE8-01,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE9,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE9.3,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE9-01,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE9-02,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE9-04,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE106,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE91,
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