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


Ordnance survey map of Pillow mound 180m west of Legis Tor forming part of Legistor Warren
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Sheepstor

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 protection.

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,

End of official listing