A double stone alignment and three cairns south-west of Black Tor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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

West Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 57102 71463

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 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. Due to their comparative rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally important, unless very badly damaged.

In addition to the stone alignment the monument includes three round cairns, which are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where 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. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-western Britain. Despite limited damage as a result of post-medieval field boundary construction and partial excavation of one of the cairns, the double stone alignment and three associated cairns south-west of Black Tor survive comparatively well within an area containing at least three other stone alignments, a large number of broadly contemporary settlements and funerary monuments. The later field boundary constructed over part of the monument, detracts from its visual amenity but has provided significant protection against weathering and erosion.


This monument includes a double stone alignment and three round cairns situated on the crest of a south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. The stone alignment is orientated from north-east to south-west and includes a 283.6m long, double row of at least eighty-one stones, averaging in height between 0.5m and 0.8m. Sixty stones in the southern row are visible, though more may be buried in the post-medieval field wall which runs parallel and immediately next to the row. The northern row includes at least twenty-one stones which are visible within the later field boundary. At the north-eastern end of the row there is a blocking stone measuring 0.8m high, 1.2m wide and 0.2m thick, which is partially buried beneath the field wall. At the south-western end of the stone alignment are three cairns. The largest one lies 6m from the identified end of the stone alignment and measures 9m long, 4m wide and 0.8m high and partially underlies the field boundary. The second cairn lies to the north-east of the first cairn and measures 5m in diameter and 0.5m high. A hollow in the centre of the mound suggests partial early excavation or robbing. The third cairn lies south-east of the second, and measures 3.5m in diameter by 0.4m high. A large number of cairns have been identified in the area south of the stone alignment. These are not included in the scheduling because they are probably associated with post-medieval field clearance.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 212-213
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE102,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE35,
Robinson, R., AM107 Stone Row SW of BLack Tor, (1983)


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

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