Double stone alignment with a large cairn south-west of Penn Beacon


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017400

Date first listed: 22-Sep-1992


Ordnance survey map of Double stone alignment with a large cairn south-west of Penn Beacon
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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: Cornwood

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 59521 62470


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 alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000 BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally important, unless very badly damaged.

The double stone row at Penn Beacon is one of the more unusual forms of stone alignment with an exceptionally large cairn situated at one terminal. Although partly excavated the cairn retains considerable archaeological potential both in the preservation of the mound and the pre-mound surface.


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


Of the two elements of this monument the large cairn is the visually dominant feature. It lies close to the head of a spring on the south-west slope of Penn Beacon. A short double stone alignment extends down the slope from its south side. The cairn consists of a mound of stones on a base of earth and stone measuring 17m in diameter and up to 1.5m in height. It was opened in 1872 by Spence Bate and Oliver and revealed a cist, a stone artefact and pottery fragments. A short double stone alignment runs for some 15m from a point 2m from the cairn and consists of four pairs of stones up to 0.4m in height, which stand in two rows 1m apart. The spacing is irregular and there may be stones missing; in its present form the row leads down the slope to end close to a spring head.

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: 10785

Legacy System: RSM


SX56SE-002, SX56SE-002, (1990)
SX56SE-126, SX56SE-126, (1990)

End of official listing