A warren, two stone hut circle settlements, cairnfields and cairns at Ivy Tor, ESE of Belstone


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018925

Date first listed: 07-Jun-2000


Ordnance survey map of A warren, two stone hut circle settlements, cairnfields and cairns at Ivy Tor, ESE of Belstone
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. 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.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: South Tawton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 62476 93167, SX 62593 93083, SX 62607 93246, SX 62658 93342, SX 62676 93233, SX 62692 93193, SX 62805 93222, SX 62807 93434, SX 62839 93659, SX 62965 93459, SX 63011 93372, SX 63033 93230, SX 63068 93366, SX 63074 93299, SX 63096 93519


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 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. Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and 10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed. Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with the majority lying in the Plym Valley. Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in which the warrener lived. Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early 20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of protection.

Within the area denoted by the warren known as Skaigh Warren, ESE of Belstone there is considerable evidence of earlier activity. Amongst these features are two prehistoric settlements complete with contemporary boundary walling and cairnfields. Some of the cairns have additional structural features and may be considered as funerary in character. Some of the huts within the settlements are much larger than those normally associated with settlements on this side of the Moor. Taken together, the archaeology surviving within this monument provides an important insight into the many different uses made of this area over a considerable period of time.


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


The monument, which falls into 15 areas of protection, includes a rabbit warren, an area of ridge and furrow, two stone hut circle settlements, two cairnfields and further cairns situated on a north facing lower slope of Cosdon Hill overlooking Belstone Cleave. The rabbit warren includes at least 21 pillow mounds scattered over the side of the hill. A small rectangular building situated within the eastern part of the warren may represent a shelter used by warreners. The warren is known as Skaigh Warren although the Ordnance Survey depict this further to the east where no pillow mounds are known. The eastern part of the monument also includes narrow ridge and furrow over much of the area, which appears to predate the pillow mounds. The two prehistoric settlements include stone hut circles associated with rubble boundary banks. The eastern settlement is centred at NGR SX63109351 and includes at least seven stone hut circles which survive as circular or oval walls each surrounding an internal area varying between 14 sq m and 95 sq m, with the average being 44 sq m. The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 0.5m and 1.4m, with the average being 0.73m. Two of the huts are butted by boundary walling, two are joined to each other and another two share an annex or courtyard. Most of the huts survive as earthworks although some have occasional protruding orthostats and rubble. A cairnfield including at least 28 mounds survives within the vicinity of the settlement and may be contemporary with it, although some of the cairns may belong with the clearance activity associated with laying out the historic ridge and furrow field. The mounds within this cairnfield are circular or oval in shape. The circular mounds vary between 3.9m and 7.3m in diameter, whilst the length of the oval ones varies between 5m and 10m. The heights of all the mounds vary between 0.5m and 1.4m, with the average being 0.95m. The western settlement is centred at NGR SX62609303 and includes at least six stone hut circles together with enclosures, lengths of rubble walling and a cairnfield. The stone hut circles survive as circular or oval walls each surrounding an internal area measuring between 13 sq m and 94 sq m, with the average being 36 sq m. Only one of the huts is butted by boundary walling, and another one has a visible doorway. A number of lengths of rubble walling survive within the settlement and these, together with a number of cairns indicate clearance of the surrounding ground. Some of the cairns in the vicinity of this settlement may be funerary in origin, with at least one possessing a kerb and another having a surrounding platform. A solitary cairn at NGR SX62479315 surviving as a small 3.8m diameter mound surrounded by at least two outer banks may represent a ring cairn.

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: 28727

Legacy System: RSM


MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)

End of official listing