Four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of Greatcombe


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019268

Date first listed: 24-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of Greatcombe
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Holne

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 68491 69849, SX 68492 69802, SX 68650 69908, SX 68686 69949


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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite partial excavation, the four cairns on Holne Lee 1140m north west of Greatcombe survive well and contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was built. With two types of cairn present, this group of funerary sites will contain contrasting information concerning burial practices. Ring cairns are relatively rare, with between 250 and 500 known examples nationally.


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


The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four cairns situated on a gentle east facing slope on Holne Lee overlooking the valley of the River Dart. The northern example is a ring cairn and survives as a 1.8m wide by 0.4m high rubble bank surrounding an internal area measuring 4.8m in diameter. A short distance to the south west is a second ring cairn. This survives as a 4m wide and 0.8m high rubble bank surrounding a 12.5m diameter internal area. The southernmost cairn survives as a 19m diameter and 1.3m high mound, while to the north of this cairn is a 5m diameter and 0.3m high stoney mound. Hollows and trenches cutting into all four cairns indicate that they have been subjected to early undocumented investigations.

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: 28764

Legacy System: RSM


Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE118, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE129, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE24, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX66NE25, (1993)

End of official listing