Two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round cairn and stone alignment on Walkhampton Common


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011191

Date first listed: 16-Jul-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Jun-1994


Ordnance survey map of Two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round cairn and stone alignment on Walkhampton Common
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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 57088 72119


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.

In addition to the stone hut circles the monument includes two lengths of reave, which form part of a coaxial field system. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age. They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. The monument also includes a round cairn which is a funerary monument also of Bronze Age date. Round cairns were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south western Britain. The final component of the monument is a stone alignment. Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000 BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half the recorded national population. The two stone hut circles, lengths of reave, round cairn and stone alignment on Walkhampton Common survive comparatively well and lie within an area containing a large number of contemporary settlements, fields and enclosures. This combination of sites is important in understanding the development of the Dartmoor landscape during the prehistoric period.


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


This monument includes two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round cairn and stone alignment situated on Walkhampton Common. The various components of this monument are all thought to be of Bronze Age date, but the stone hut circles, cairn and stone alignment are all earlier than the reaves. The Walkhampton Common reave separates the Meavy and Walkham valleys with a remarkably straight central section overgrown in places by peat. Unlike the other watershed reaves this one is not aligned on a tor or skyline barrow. The reave can be traced from SX 56007050 in the clitter of Sharpitor to SX 57837306 at a terrace of the disused Princetown to Yelverton railway line. A 2070m length of this reave is included within this monument, other lengths forming parts of other monuments. Within the area of this monument, the reave survives as a 3m wide stony bank standing up to 0.8m high. Apparent short gaps in the reave occur where dense peat accumulation has buried the bank. The second reave includes a 302m length of boundary bank extending at right angles from the Walkhampton Common reave to the clitter on the south side of Leeden Tor. This reave survives as a 0.6m high, prominent rubble and boulder bank with an average width of 2.8m. In places along its length are several small cairns with an average diameter of 4m standing up to 0.5m high. This reave is a transverse boundary, which would have originally connected the Walkhampton Common reave to the Great Western Reave and would have sub-divided open pasture land. Two stone hut circles which are adjacent and aligned north west-south east, are attached to the transverse reave by short lengths of rubble walling. These structures survive as stone and earth walls surrounding an internal area. Gaps in this walling represent original doorways. The interior of the northern hut measures 6.3m in diameter and the 2.5m wide wall stands up to 0.5m high. The southern hut measures 8.4m in diameter and the surrounding wall is 2.5m wide and 0.7m high. An internal partition has been identified within this structure. A round cairn lying on the line of the transverse reave measures 9m in diameter and stands up to 1m high. A number of retaining stones are visible around the north east edge of the mound, suggesting the presence of a kerb which survives largely as a buried feature. This cairn is earlier than the reave, to which it is connected, and is probably associated with the nearby stone alignment which is aligned onto the cairn, though it now terminates 28m from the mound. The stone alignment is 132m long and includes a single row of 16 stones. The stones stand between 0.2m and 0.7m high and are spaced at regular intervals of about 13m. The Walkhampton Common reave cuts across this alignment and is therefore of a more recent date. Stone hut circles and enclosures survive within close proximity to this monument.

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: 22323

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE17.1,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE17.4,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE171,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE172,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE104,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE91,
RAF, CPE/UK/2149, (1947)
Title: SX 57 SE Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Map Source Date: 1982 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing