Cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017284

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 16-Dec-2018 at 17:29:37.


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 64886 91827


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, 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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface (clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The cairnfield 790m north west of Stoneyhurst survives well and contains important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was formed. The adjacent unfinished walls are of interest because they illustrate the method by which moorland was enclosed in the historic period.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield situated on a gentle east facing slope of Cosdon Hill. The cairnfield survives as a tight cluster of ten mounds standing between 0.3m and 1.2m high. Six of the mounds are circular in shape with their diameters varying between 3m and 5m and the remainder are ovoid with lengths between 4m and 5.5m. A short length of rubble walling measuring 1m wide and up to 0.25m high lies immediately west of the cairnfield and may represent a broadly contemporary unfinished field boundary. In the same area, another unfinished field boundary is represented by four short lengths of drystone walling foundations. This boundary is of historic date and illustrates the method used to enclose moorland.

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: 28704

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)

End of official listing