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 hut circles and hut settlements
were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date
from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building
tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low
walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch
roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups
and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although
they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
In addition to the two enclosed settlements, the monument includes a length of
watershed reave. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric
land division introduced during the Bronze Age (about 2000-700BC). They
consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories,
some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by
parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the
grazing zones of the higher Moor and defining the watersheds of the adjacent
river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often
incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and
their relationship with other monument types provide important information on
the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices
amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a
monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field
plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of
The two enclosures and length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave 800m WSW of
Eylesbarrow survive comparatively well, are broadly contemporary and together
with other nearby settlement sites and ceremonial monuments provide an
important insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the west side of
This monument includes two enclosures containing stone hut circles, a length
of reave, a field boundary and a short length of leat situated on a west-
facing slope of Eylesbarrow overlooking the valley of the Narrator Brook.
The southern enclosure survives as a `D'-shaped area, attached to the
Eylesbarrow watershed reave. It measures 65m east to west by 55m north to
south and is defined by a 1m wide boulder wall standing up to 0.7m high.
Slight lynchets and rough alignments of stones within the enclosure may
represent internal divisions. Two stone hut circles lie within the enclosure
and these are composed of stone and earth banks surrounding internal areas.
Both huts are circular in plan, their internal diameters measure 4m and the
surrounding walls are 0.6m and 0.7m high.
The Eylesbarrow watershed reave can be traced from Cadworthy Wood to
Eylesbarrow, a distance of some 7.5km, separating the watershed of the River
Plym from that of the River Meavy. This part of the reave runs up the south
western slope of Eylesbarrow for 340m, from stream workings south of Combshead
Tor to a gap in the reave. The reave consists of a bank of earth and stone up
to 3m in width and 0.5m in height.
The northern enclosure is linked to the Eylesbarrow reave by a sinuous 170m
long, 2.7m wide and 0.8m high lynchetted rubble boundary bank. The enclosure
is irregular in shape, measures 142m north to south by 112m east to west and
is defined by a 2m wide and 0.7m high rubble wall. Five stone hut circles lie
within the enclosure and all are circular apart from one double hut circle
which has an oval room. The internal diameters of the circular huts vary
between 3.6m and 5.2m with the average being 4.36m. The height of the
surrounding walls varies between 0.5m and 0.7m, with the average being 0.68m.
One hut includes two rooms, four huts possess visible doorways and one is
attached to the enclosure boundary.
A short length of leat cuts through the central part of the enclosure and
although now dry it would have originally carried water from the upper reaches
of the Narrator Brook to tinworks immediately south of the monument.
The length of the Eylesbarrow watershed reave lying east of this monument is
the subject of a separate scheduling (SM10741).
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.