Eighteen cairns, a length of bank and a recumbent stone forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1010597

Date first listed: 11-Jan-1995


Ordnance survey map of Eighteen cairns, a length of bank and a recumbent stone forming part of a cairnfield on Longstone Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1010597 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 20:27:10.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Okehampton Hamlets

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 56781 90796


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, 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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface (clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

In addition to the cairns the monument contains a large stone which would have originally stood upright during the Bronze Age. Standing stones are single, sometimes large, upright stones which often occur in isolation from other monuments. Their date and significance are uncertain, but their distribution in western and northern Britain has been linked to the principal routes from the lowlands to the uplands and they have been interpreted as markers for a system of farming involving the movement of animals from lowland to upland pastures at certain seasons of the year. As such they provide an important insight into farming practices on the moor in the past. The exact number extant in England is not known but is probably less than 250. The recorded examples on Dartmoor form an important subgroup of the total population, and in consequence most are considered to be of national importance. The cairnfield on Longstone Hill survives well and contains archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. It provides a valuable insight into Bronze Age funerary, ritual and agricultural activity on the western side of the moor. This cairnfield is more extensive and contains more cairns than any other similar site known on the Moor. Its association with a standing stone and single stone hut circle is rare.


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


This monument includes 18 cairns, a length of bank and a recumbent stone situated on the ridge south of Longstone Hill forming part of a cairnfield, including at least 64 mounds, overlooking the valleys of the Redaven Brook and West Okement River. Other cairns lie in the immediate vicinity and these are covered by separate schedulings. Of the mounds, 15 are sub-circular in shape and range in size from 2m to 7m in diameter and stand between 0.2m and 1m high. The remainder are ovoid in shape, and these range between 4.5m to 11m long, 3m to 5m wide and stand between 0.6m and 0.8m high. The average height of all the mounds is 0.52m. Four cairns have a shallow hollow in the mound, suggesting robbing or partial early excavation. Many of the cairns are crest sited and are therefore clearly visible from long distances to the east and west. This situation strongly suggests that many of these cairns probably contain burials, although the size and shape of some mounds suggests that some may also be associated with stone clearance connected with cultivation of the area. A sinuous 50m long, 2m wide and 0.25m high bank lying within the monument leads towards a large recumbent stone. This stone measures 1.75m long, 0.8m wide and 0.45m thick and is the only large stone visible on Longstone Hill. It has been suggested that this may be the longstone which once stood upright to give the hill its name. The presence of this stone, which would have been broadly contemporary with the cairns, provides additional support for the ritual and funerary character ascribed to many cairns within the group. A small number of V-shaped trenches and shallow circular hollows survive within the monument and are the result of military training carried out within this area during the Second World War. The trenches represent small temporary defensive positions and the hollows are probably shell holes.

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: 24163

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 215
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE-039, (1982)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX59SE33, (1983)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

End of official listing