A ring cairn on Longash Common lying 400m south east of Merrivale Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013431

Date first listed: 04-Dec-1995


Ordnance survey map of A ring cairn on Longash Common lying 400m south east of Merrivale Bridge
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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: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 55326 74841


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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

The cairn on Longash Common lying 400m south east of Merrivale Bridge survives comparatively well and forms part of a nationally important cluster of ceremonial and ritual monuments which attract a large number of visitors each year. Important archaeological and environmental data may survive within the peat deposits covering this monument.


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


This monument includes a ring cairn situated on a gentle north west facing slope on Longash Common overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The cairn lies within the vicinity of a large number of broadly contemporary ritual monuments, forming one of the densest concentrations of such sites on the Moor. The earthwork survives as a bank measuring 1.3m wide and 0.3m high, surrounding a 6.4m diameter circular, internal area. This structure was originally identified by Worth as a stone hut circle, but in recent years archaeological opinion considers it much more likely to be a ring cairn. This monument forms part of a wider cluster of nationally important monuments which are the subject of separate schedulings. This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

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: 24195

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 217
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 70
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE22, (1984)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1994)
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE6,

End of official listing