Butterdon Hill stone alignment and cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1012486

Date first listed: 27-Jun-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 23-Oct-1991


Ordnance survey map of Butterdon Hill stone alignment and cairn
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. 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: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Harford

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Ugborough

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 65539 60225

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 provides 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 aligments provide rare evidence of ceremonial or ritual practices on the Moor during the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The Butterdon Hill alignment is particularly significant as it is the second longest on Dartmoor and its full length is defined by a terminal cairn at the southern end to a terminal stone at the northern end. It is also associated with several other cairns and ceremonial monuments on Butterdon Hill.


Stone alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in a single line or two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They frequently lead to burial monuments such as small cairns, cists and barrows and are therefore thought to have had a ceremonial function. The 70 or so examples known on Dartmoor were probably constructed in the Late Neolithic period (around 2500 BC). The Butterdon Hill single stone alignment runs for over 2km along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Piles Hill and is the second longest stone alignment on Dartmoor. The stones are up to a metre in height and are spaced at intervals of 1m to 1.5m. There is a cairn 10.5m in diameter and 0.3m in height, with a retaining kerb at the southern end of the alignment and a recumbent stone, 2.56m in length, known as the Longstone, which is considered to have been the northern terminal. One stone in the row c.300m south of this northern terminal has a cross incised on its west face and is known as Hobajon's Cross. The line has been adopted as the Harford Moor/ Ugborough Moor Common Land boundary and includes introduced modern boundary stones.

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: 10558

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Davidson, C J, Seabrook, R A G, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Stone Rings on South East Dartmoor, , Vol. 31, (1973), 25
Emmett, D D, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Stone Rows: The Traditional View Reconsidered, , Vol. 39, (1979), 111
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Dartmoor 1788-1808, , Vol. 73, (1941), 203
Worth, R H, 'Trans Devonshire Assoc' in Stone Rows of Dartmoor, Part 1, , Vol. 78, (1946), 287
Devon County SMR SX65NE-013.01,
Devon County SMR SX66NE-006 and 038,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-002,
Devon County SMR SX66SE-013,

End of official listing