Two pillow mounds 415m and 430m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House forming part of Trowlesworthy Warren


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1015754

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2000


Ordnance survey map of Two pillow mounds 415m and 430m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House forming part of Trowlesworthy Warren
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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: Shaugh Prior

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 57112 65019, SX 57150 64982


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 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. Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and 10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed. Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with the majority lying in the Plym Valley. Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in which the warrener lived. Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early 20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of protection.

The two pillow mounds 415m and 430m north east of Trowlesworthy Warren House form part of the nationally important Trowlesworthy Warren and contain information relating to the exploitation of rabbits in the Upper Plym valley. This valley contains the densest concentration of pillow mounds and other structures associated with rabbit farming on the Moor.


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


This monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes two pillow mounds situated on a north west facing slope of Little Trowlesworthy Tor overlooking the valley of the River Plym. These mounds form part of Trowlesworthy Warren, which includes around 64 pillow mounds and 40 vermin traps scattered along the slopes of Little and Great Trowlesworthy Tors. The boundaries of the warren are denoted by the River Plym, Spanish Lake and Blacka Brook. Trowlesworthy Warren is generally accepted as the oldest surviving warren on Dartmoor, although recently doubt has been expressed concerning its medieval origins. It is however known that the warren existed by 1651 when it was occupied by John Hamblin, a skinner from Plymouth. The warren appears to have remained in constant use from this time until the first half of the 20th century. The southern mound survives as an 11.5m long, 4.1m wide and 0.8m high, flat- topped, rectangular shaped mound of soil and stone which is revetted in places with large boulders. A 1.9m wide and 0.3m deep ditch from which material was quarried during its construction, surrounds the mound. The northern mound is also rectangular and is 5.5m long, 3.2m wide and 0.6m high. A 1.8m wide and 0.4m deep quarry ditch surrounds the mound. Other archaeological features surviving within the vicinity of this monument 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.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 28794

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1996)

End of official listing