Two irregular aggregate field systems with associated settlements, part of a coaxial field system, boundary stones and historic fields on Riddon Ridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1018930

Date first listed: 01-Jan-1971

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Jun-2000


Ordnance survey map of Two irregular aggregate field systems with associated settlements, part of a coaxial field system, boundary stones and historic fields on Riddon Ridge
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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 66418 75934, SX 66771 76192, SX 67036 75915


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.

The irregular aggregate field systems on Riddon Ridge are amongst the most extensive recorded on Dartmoor. Their relationship with the Dartmeet coaxial field system is of particular interest. The settlements and cairns provide useful information on the character of occupation in this area during the Bronze Age and together with the other Bronze Age remains, this monument represents an important and relatively rare instance of an area containing good examples of the major settlement and land division types found on the Moor. Historic activity within the same area provides a useful insight into its continuing use.


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


The monument, which falls into three areas of protection, includes two irregular aggregate field systems with associated settlements, part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system, cairns, a coffin stone, boundary stones, historic fields and groups of prospecting pits on Riddon Ridge, which lies between the East Dart River and Walla Brook. The northern irregular aggregate field system includes at least 60 fields denoted by rubble walling containing at least three settlements. The northern settlement includes at least 12 stone hut circles which survive as circular or oval walls surrounding an internal area varying between 9.6 sq m and 37.4 sq m with the average being 23.6 sq m. The height of the surrounding walls varies between 0.3m and 1.2m, with the average being 0.58m. Four of the huts have visible doorways, nine are attached to boundary walling and both orthostatic and rubble bank construction techniques are represented. The central settlement is centred at NGR SX 66107650 and includes two stone hut circles, each associated with oval shaped fields. The third settlement contains two stone hut circles, one of which lies adjacent to the field system. The eastern irregular aggregate field system includes at least 32 fields some of which are attached to reaves forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system. In its final form this field system post-dates the construction of the coaxial field system. There are two stone hut circle settlements with this field system; the western one includes a single hut lying at NGR SX 66407625, whilst the eastern one includes at least six stone hut circles. The coaxial field system surviving within the monument forms part of the much larger one known as the Dartmeet coaxial field system. Within the monument there are three large fields together with at least 13 smaller ones, all with a prevailing axis of north east to south west. A solitary stone hut circle at NGR SX 67017602 has been incorporated into this field system. There are at least seven cairns lying within the monument. Some of them are probably funerary in origin although at least three of the smaller ones may have been built during clearance activity, and two others may have been erected by the builders of the coaxial field system as part of their initial survey work. An unusual feature of medieval date is a solitary recumbent stone with an incised cross on one face. This is believed to be a coffin stone on which coffins were rested en route to the Lich Way, an ancient route across the Moor. Evidence of later land control markers lies within the monument and includes four boundary stones each carved with letters. These may have been connected with tinworking, although the only evidence of this activity takes the form of two lines of prospecting pits and a few further pits scattered within and around the monument. Two areas of historic field system survive within the monument. The first centered at NGR SX 66657655 includes a single rectangular field and to the west of this two agglomerated fields. The field boundaries survive mainly as low banks with an associated ditch, although in some places only the ditch is visible. The second area lies to the south of the first and includes an area of historic fields denoted on the outer edge by a corn ditch. Within the field system the individual fields are denoted by banks and within the fields themselves are slight traces of narrow ridge and furrow.

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: 28733

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 139
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67NE306, (1994)
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1999)
Title: Riddon Ridge survey Source Date: 1993 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:2500 plan

End of official listing