Pillow mound 180m west of Legis Tor forming part of Legistor Warren
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1008714
Date first listed: 07-Jun-2000
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: West Devon (District Authority)
National Park: DARTMOOR
National Grid Reference: SX 56940 65611
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 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.
Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits
or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places,
known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to
contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept
charge of the warren.
Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the
animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and
10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate
drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were
excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed.
Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a
small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of
ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with
the majority lying in the Plym Valley.
Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such
as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a
ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been
specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in
which the warrener lived.
Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th
century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early
20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together
they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval
exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of
The pillow mound 180m west of Legis Tor forms part of the nationally important Legistor Warren and contains information relating to the exploitation of rabbits in the Upper Plym valley.
This monument includes a pillow mound situated on the south west facing slope
of Legis Tor overlooking the valley of Legis Lake. The pillow mound survives
as an 18.3m long, 5m wide and 1.2m high, flat-topped, oblong shaped mound of
soil and stone surrounded on four sides by the 2.7m wide and 0.6m deep ditch
from which material was quarried during the construction of the mound. The
perimeter of the upper end of the mound is partly revetted by drystone
walling, which may survive elsewhere as a buried feature.
This mound forms part of the rabbit warren at Legis Tor which is sometimes
called New Warren and may have operated jointly with Trowlesworthy Warren
until recent times when it became an adjunct of Ditsworthy Warren. The name
New Warren strongly suggests that there was an earlier warren on the site.
Dating of the warren is difficult because there are no early documentary
references, although it is generally accepted that the warren on the other
side of the River Plym at Trowlesworthy had been established by 1292.
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: 24128
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Linehan, C D, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Deserted Sites and Rabbit Warrens on Dartmoor, Devon, , Vol. 10, (1966), 141
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE239,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
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