Scorhill stone circle, three cairns and a length of reave


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018915

Date first listed: 07-Jul-1959

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1999


Ordnance survey map of Scorhill stone circle, three cairns and a length of reave
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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: Gidleigh

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 65437 87274, SX 65473 87193, SX 65515 87257


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 circles, or circular arrangements of upright stones, were set into the ground and acted as ceremonial and funerary monuments during the later Neolithic and Bronze Age periods (c.2400-700 BC). On Dartmoor they are often found in association with stone alignments and burial monuments such as cairns and cists. The circles may be single or enclose further circles; they may occur as isolated examples or in groups. The 26 examples on Dartmoor form one of the most dense concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Due to their relative rarity (with a national population of only some 200 examples) and longevity as a monument type, all stone circles are considered to be nationally important.

Despite partial robbing, Scorhill stone circle is amongst the most visually impressive of the Dartmoor stone circles and together with the nearby cairns forms a significant ritual area. The monument is visible from other ritual areas and therefore forms part of an overall large scale complex on this part of the moor. The length of reave provides evidence for land division of broadly comparable date.


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


The monument, which falls into three areas, includes a stone circle, three cairns and a length of reave situated on a gentle south west facing slope overlooking the valley of the North Teign River. The stone circle measures 27m in diameter and is denoted by 23 upright granite slabs standing up to 2.25m high. A further 11 recumbent stones lie where they have fallen and one of these has been subjected to splitting. At a distance of 130m SSE of the circle is a round cairn which measures 9m in diameter and stands up to 1m high. A pit excavated into the centre of the mound represents robbing or early partial excavation. On the south western side of this pit two edge set stones may represent the remnants of an internal kerb. Lying to the south west of this round cairn is a 23m long by 8.5m wide stony mound standing up to 1.1m high. This long cairn is denoted along part of its eastern side by a number of edge set stones which represents the remnants of a kerb which survives elsewhere as a buried feature. To the south east of this cairn is another mound which measures 10.2m long by 5m wide and stands up to 1m high. This mound may have also had a funerary purpose, although it is probably primarily a clearance cairn. A length of reave separating the stone circle from the cairns leads in a north east to south west direction and measures up to 2m wide by 0.7m high. The reave is of rubble bank construction with occasional protruding orthostats. The reave is cut in places by a leat and several hollow ways. The leat is excluded from the monument, although the ground beneath it 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: 28715

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 192
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 143
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 193

End of official listing