One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013060

Date first listed: 25-Feb-1953

Date of most recent amendment: 10-Oct-1991


Ordnance survey map of One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill
© 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: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Ugborough

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 65614 58520


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 provides direct evidence of 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 land use through time. These four large cairns are well preserved examples and occupy prominent positions on the brow of Butterdon Hill, forming part of a series of large, probably high status, cairns of similar construction on hilltops along the eastern side of the Erme Valley. The group of cairns on this hill suggests that it was of particular importance as a focal point for the local community. The relationship of this group with other cairns indicates the wealth of evidence relating to the ritual side of Prehistoric life on this part of the moor.


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


Many examples of Prehistoric funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor, mostly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500BC). To celebrate or commemorate the dead, mounds of earth or stone were piled in roughly hemispherical shape over the burial, which was sometimes contained in a small rectangular structure, or cist, made out of stone slabs. Some monuments also include kerbstones marking the outer edge of the mound and a surrounding ditch. The four cairns on Butterdon Hill are similarly constructed with a mound of stones built on a stone and earth base the circumference of which projects beyond the stones. They range in diameter from 15m to 28m and in height from 1m to 3m and are part of a series of large stone cairns along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Weatherdon Hill. This cairn, on the south-west slope of Butterdon Hill, consists of a mound of stones built upon a stone, earth and turf base, possibly with a berm and ditch. It is 15m in diameter and approximately 1.8m high and is one of a series of similar large cairns along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and Weatherdon Hill.

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: 10600

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978)
SMR SX 65 NE 222,

End of official listing