Triple stone alignment and cairn 780m east of Cawsand Beacon


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013426

Date first listed: 01-Mar-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 14-Nov-1995


Ordnance survey map of Triple stone alignment and cairn 780m east of Cawsand Beacon
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. 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 - 1013426 .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 22-Jan-2019 at 19:11:50.


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

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: South Tawton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 64386 91581


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 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.

Despite limited damage as a result of a trackway being cut through part of the alignments, the triple stone alignment and cairn 780m east of Cawsand Beacon survive comparatively well, contain archaeological and environmental information and lie between a number of broadly contemporary funerary monuments and extensive field systems containing settlements.


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


This monument includes a triple stone alignment, a cairn and short length of hollow way situated on a gently sloping natural shelf on the eastern side of Cawsand Hill (also known as Cosdon Hill) at the head of Cheriton Combe. The stone alignment, known locally as The Cemetery or The Graveyard, is orientated from WNW to ESE and includes a 138m long, triple row of at least 118 stones whose heights gradually increase uphill towards the cairn. The tallest stones stand up to 1m high, whilst many of those at the eastern end protrude only a short height above the ground. Many stones at the eastern end probably survive as buried features, and the eastern terminal point is consequently not visible at ground level. At the western end of the alignments there are three blocking stones standing up to 1m high. The distance between the three rows remains constant at 1.4m, but the distance between the stones along the alignments decreases eastwards, from 1.6m to 1.3m. There is a marked curve in the alignments of about 3 degrees to the north from a point 70m from the western end. In 1896 members of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee re-erected an unknown number of stones, including at least two of the blocking stones. The cairn lies 4.5m west of the blocking stones and survives as a circular mound measuring 7.8m in diameter and standing up to 0.7m high. Seven stones set on edge around the perimeter of the mound, indicate the presence of a kerb which survives largely as a buried feature. Two conjoined cists sharing a common end slab are visible within the mound. The northern cist includes one end and a side slab defining a rectangular hollow measuring 1.2m long by 0.9m wide and 0.5m deep. The southern cist includes three upright slabs obscured in part by a large granite slab which probably represents an original coverstone. This cist appears to have maximum dimensions of 1.1m long by 1m wide and 0.4m deep. This cairn was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1896, who found that the cists had already been robbed and no finds were made. The excavators, however, did find an inner kerb of upright slabs within the mound surrounding the cists, although this feature is no longer visible. The stone alignments are cut through by a hollow way which represents part of a track leading from South Zeal to Hangingstone Hill. This track was probably originally used to carry peat from the moorland and may date from the medieval period. Within the monument the trackway survives as two parallel hollow ways. The western hollow way measures 3m wide and 0.7m deep, whilst the eastern example is 3m wide and 1m deep.

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: 24143

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 64
Crossing, W, Crossing's Guide To Dartmoor, (1990), 64
Hayward, J, Dartmoor 365, (1991), 31
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 218-219
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 180
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1990), 204-206
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1990), 205
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 74
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX69SW19, (1993)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX69SW19.1, (1993)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

End of official listing