Coaxial field system, associated and later remains at Throwleigh Common and Kennon Hill


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


Ordnance survey map of Coaxial field system, associated and later remains at Throwleigh Common and Kennon Hill
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Devon (District Authority)
West Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 63860 88261, SX 65011 89787, SX 66018 90745

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. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The coaxial field system and prehistoric settlements at Throwleigh Common and Kennon Hill survive well and some are amongst the most visually impressive on the moor. The territorial reave provides information concerning large scale early land division and the presence of irregular aggregate fields and enclosures provides a significant contrast with the coaxial fields. Information on use of the moor during the historic period survives and in particular a well preserved length of the documented Bradford Leat will contain important environmental and hydrological information. Taken as a whole, this monument represents part of an impressive archaeological landscape which survives within the Cosdon prehistoric territory.


The monument, which falls into two areas, includes the larger part of the prehistoric coaxial field system known as Throwleigh Common, six broadly contemporary settlements, a length of territorial reave separating the North Teign and Cosdon prehistoric territories, at least 27 cairns, two lengths of leat, three shelters, a building and two boundary stones. The coaxial field system includes a large number of fields arranged on a single prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. Within the area defined by the fields there are two settlements. The largest of these survives as a scatter of at least 27 stone hut circles extending over the western slopes of Throwleigh Common. The stone hut circles survive as walls each surrounding a circular internal area with internal diameters rangingfrom 3m up to 10.5m with the average being 6.7m. Some of the huts in this settlement are amongst the most visually impressive on Dartmoor with ten having walls standing above 1m high. Eighteen of the huts have visible doorways, and 11 are attached or linked to the coaxial field system. The second settlement includes a solitary stone hut circle situated at SX 65459050 which survives as a 5.5m diameter area defined on the western side by a 0.8m wide and 0.6m high single orthostatic wall. The remaining settlements lie outside the coaxial field system and the one at SX 64959012 includes six stone hut circles associated with an area of irregular aggregate fields and clearance cairns. To the south of this at SX 65078977 is a linear cluster of at least eight unenclosed stone hut circles and near to these are two round cairns. The fifth settlement includes two stone hut circles associated with an enclosure and lengths of field wall leading from the nearby territorial reave. The sixth settlement lies beside the Gallaven Brook and survives as a `D'- shaped enclosure containing two stone hut circles. Most of the cairns within the monument were probably formed as a result of stone clearance, but some were certainly built for funerary purposes. A large number of archaeological remains relating to the historic period survive within the monument and amongst these are a length of the Bradford Leat, which was constructed in the mid-16th century to serve a tinwork at Bradford Pool. The leat is about 19.3km long, with one length remaining in use, and other lengths within moorland surviving as an earthwork. Within the monument, the leat averages 1.7m wide by 0.7m deep with an associated bank measuring 2m wide and 0.6m high. The length of leat within the monument is known to have become disused after 1697. A number of buildings of historic date survive within the monument, and whilst most of these are shelters associated with upland grazing the structure at SX65549044 may have been a dwelling. Two post-medieval boundary stones situated on the territorial reave were erected to denote the edge of Throwleigh parish. One of these stones no longer stands on the parish boundary and may therefore provide information concerning adjustment of the boundary in historic times.

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:
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Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 197
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)
MPP Fieldwork by S.Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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