A prehistoric settlement with enclosures, an irregular aggregate field system and cairn north of Bellever Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018512

Date first listed: 21-May-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 21-Jan-1999


Ordnance survey map of A prehistoric settlement with enclosures, an irregular aggregate field system and cairn north of Bellever Tor
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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 64431 76799, SX 64620 76863, SX 64641 76668, SX 64838 76780, SX 65015 76600


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.

Despite partial afforestation, the prehistoric settlement with enclosures, an irregular aggregate field system and cairn north of Bellever Tor survive well and together with other nearby broadly contemporary settlement sites and ceremonial monuments provide an important insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation and exploitation in the very centre of Dartmoor. Relatively deep peat and soil deposits cover this monument and as well as containing environmental information they have helped to protect the archaeology from modern activities.


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


The monument, which falls into five areas of protection, includes an agglomerated enclosure and irregular aggregate field system containing stone hut circles and a round cairn lying on a ridge between Bellever Tor and Lakehead Hill. The monument overlooks the valleys of the Cherry Brook and East Dart River. The irregular aggregate field system survives as a block of 17 fields covering at least 4ha. The field walls are composed of rubble banks standing up to 2m wide and 0.7m high. Within the fields there are nine visible stone hut circles. To the east of the field system lies a further stone hut circle, whilst to the west there are two enclosures. The northern enclosure is agglomerated and measures overall at least 340m north to south by 270m east to west. One stone hut circle lies within this enclosure and another two are attached to the enclosure walling. The southern enclosure, which measures 500m north to south by 300m east to west, is probably oval in shape, although the eastern side is no longer visible. West of these enclosures lies a further agglomerated enclosure. This survives as at least ten irregular shaped areas each defined by boulder and rubble walling. Four stone hut circles survive within the enclosure and three of these are butted by enclosure walling. Sitting next to the north eastern side of the enclosure is a small cairn measuring 3.7m in diameter and standing up tp 0.5m high. The stone hut circles within the settlement all survive as banks surrounding circular or oval internal areas which varies from 14.5 sq m to 50.2 sq m with the average being 27.6 sq m. The height of the surrounding walls vary between 0.25m and 0.9m, with the average being 0.56m. The orthostatic and rubble bank walling building traditions are all represented. Ten of the huts have visible doorways and seven are attached to lengths of walling. The surface of the forest road leading through the monument, together with modern drainage channels and lengths of post and wire fencing are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath is included.

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: 28689

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 44
1:2500 Plan, Sainsbury, I S, Bellever, Devon, West Devon, Lydford, (1992)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NW229.3, (1994)

End of official listing