A partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016638

Date first listed: 06-Aug-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of A partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills
© 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: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 62389 77745, SX 62399 77820, SX 62486 77617, SX 62522 77669, SX 62524 77871, SX 62567 77892, SX 62610 77829


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 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.

The partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building 440m NNW of Powder Mills survive well and together provide evidence relating to the use of the area during the prehistoric and post-medieval periods. The juxtaposition of the settlement and cairns will in particular provide information relating to both life, death and territorial aspects of Bronze Age activity. The post-medieval building is of particular interest as it represents a very well preserved example of a pre-19th century attempt at moorland colonisation which did not develop beyond the construction of the dwelling house and linhay.


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


The monument, which falls into seven areas, includes a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement, two cairns containing cists and a post-medieval building situated on a south east facing slope overlooking the valley of the Cherry Brook. The settlement survives as a single enclosure containing or connected to four stone hut circles, with a further eight huts lying to the south and two more surviving to the east. The stone hut circles within the settlement survive as circular or oval banks each surrounding an internal area which varies from 7 to 33 square metres, with the average being 15 square metres. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.2m and 1.2m, with the average being 0.6m. Seven of the huts have visible doorways, three are attached to enclosure walling, one has an internal partition and they all are of orthostatic or rubble bank construction. Lying on the eastern edge of the settlement are two cairns containing cists. The northern cairn measures 5.4m in diameter, stands up to 0.6m high and is surrounded by a kerb which includes one substantial orthostat which may have once stood upright. In the centre of the mound is a 1.05m long by 0.68m wide and 0.7m deep stone lined cist orientated NNE to SSW. On the south eastern edge of the cist is the displaced coverstone which measures 1.95m long by 1m wide and at least 0.18m thick. The southern cairn survives as a 5.8m diameter and 0.5m high mound containing a central pit which is defined on its northern side by a 1.4m long and 0.55m deep slab of stone. This stone represents one side of a cist which has been damaged by partial excavation or robbing. A small number of edge set stones around the periphery of the mound suggests the presence of a kerb which survives largely as a buried feature. The post-medieval building cuts through the circuit of the prehistoric enclosure and survives as a single roomed dwelling house with an attached linhay. The interior of the house measures 6.3m long by 3.5m wide and is defined by a faced 0.65m wide drystone wall standing up to 1.7m high. A fire place survives against the north western wall of the house. The linhay is attached to the south western wall of the house and measures internally 8.3m long by 2.6m wide, with its open south eastern side being denoted by three substantial orthostats standing up to 1.8m high. These orthostats would have originally supported a roof.

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: 28721

Legacy System: RSM


Haynes, R.G., Ruined Sites on Dartmoor - Middleworth, 1966, Unpublished Manuscript
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
Title: Archaeological survey and evaluation: Powder Mills and Gawler Source Date: 1989 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:10,000 Map

End of official listing