Cairnfield 760m west of Stoneyhurst


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017287

Date first listed: 04-Feb-1999

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Sep-1999


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 760m west of Stoneyhurst
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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: South Tawton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 64823 91406


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.

Despite partial excavation of at least one of the mounds, the cairnfield 760m 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 cairnfield lies just beyond a coaxial field system and contains at least one funerary round cairn. The survival of rubble walling within the cairnfield indicates that efforts were being made to enclose the area in the period immediately before it was abandoned.


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


The monument includes a cairnfield situated on a gentle east facing slope overlooking the valley of the Blackaton Brook. The cairnfield survives as a cluster of at least 25 mounds standing between 0.4m and 0.8m high. Fourteen of the mounds are circular in shape with their diameters varying between 3m and 6.9m and the remainder are ovoid with lengths between 4m and 10.2m. One mound is denoted by a number of edge set stones, indicating the presence of a kerb, which is in turn surrounded by a 1.5m wide and 0.3m high platform. This mound is probably a funerary round cairn and it has seen some damage as a result of robbing or partial early excavation. Two lengths of rubble walling survive within the monument, suggesting that a field system was starting to be laid out before the area was abandoned.

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: 28707

Legacy System: RSM


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

End of official listing