An enclosed stone hut circle settlement and later tin working earthworks, 540m south east of Down Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1009088

Date first listed: 13-Nov-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of An enclosed stone hut circle settlement and later tin working earthworks, 540m south east of Down Tor
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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: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 58402 69000


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 enclosed stone hut circle settlement 540m south east of Down Tor survives comparatively well and contains archaeological remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, the economy of its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived. As such, it provides a valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the west side of the Moor. This monument survives in close proximity to a stone alignment, several cairns and a broadly contemporary field system. This evidence is supplemented by the survival of the remains of historic tinworks. Despite having caused some disturbance to the earlier settlement, these provide evidence for the continued exploitation of the Moor's natural resources.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


This monument includes an enclosure containing 14 stone hut circles, a number of tinworking earthworks and a length of leat situated on a south west facing slope between Down Tor and Combshead Tor overlooking the valley of the Narrator Brook. The enclosure boundary survives as a 2m wide rubble bank standing up to 0.8m high, surrounding an oval area measuring 122m north east to south west by 94m north west to south east. A post-medieval drystone wall measuring 0.7m wide and 1.4m high sits on top of the enclosure boundary around its entire circuit. The stone hut circles are composed of stone and earth banks each surrounding an internal area. All of the huts are circular in plan, and their internal diameters vary between 3m and 7m, with the average being 4.89m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.4m and 1.5m, with the average being 0.81m. One hut includes two rooms, three huts are linked to each other by a low rubble bank and one possesses a visible doorway. The interior of the enclosure has seen two different types of tin mining during the historic period. Within the north east part of the enclosure are a series of pits associated with dumps. These pits were excavated by tinners to gain access to the upper parts of a lode which was then mined to a relatively shallow depth. This type of tinwork is known as a lode-back work. The second tinworking feature is a shaft surviving as a 5m deep circular pit associated with three large dumps standing 4m high and lying on the downslope side of the hole. This is a shaft, which was excavated to gain access to the same tin lode at a greater depth than was possible with the nearby lode-back pits. A short length of leat cuts through the southern part of the enclosure and although now dry it would have originally carried water from the upper reaches of the Narrator Brook to tinworks on the western side of Down Tor. The area to the south of the monument contains a large number of small irregularly shaped fields. The boundaries of these survive largely as post-medieval drystone walls, although they are clearly fossilising an earlier field system which is probably contemporary with this monument. This field system is not included in the scheduling however, because it has been damaged during the medieval and post-medieval periods.

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: 24080

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX56NE1, (1985)
Gerrard, G.A.M., The Early Cornish Tin Industry: An Arch. & Historical Survey, 1986, Unpubl. PhD thesis, St David's, Wales
Gerrard, G.A.M., The Early Cornish Tin Industry: An Arch. & Historical Survey, 1986, Unpubl. PhD thesis, St David's, Wales
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1988)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

End of official listing