Four cairns 310m south of Horn's Cross forming part of a cairn cemetery on Holne Ridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019272

Date first listed: 24-Jan-2001


Ordnance survey map of Four cairns 310m south of Horn's Cross forming part of a cairn cemetery on Holne Ridge
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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 66830 70845, SX 66862 70801, SX 66901 70664, SX 66913 70778


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, 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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface (clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

Despite early undocumented investigation of at least two of the cairns, the four cairns 310m south of Horn's Cross forming part of a cairn cemetery on Holne Ridge survive well and contain important archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was built. These cairns form part of a group of visually impressive cairns situated on high ground overlooking the largest and best preserved Bronze Age coaxial field system on the Moor. The ring cairn is one of only 250-500 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 forming part of a cairn cemetery or cairnfield, situated on a gentle north facing slope of Holne Ridge overlooking the valley of River Dart. The southern cairn survives as a 16.5m long by 14m wide mound standing up to 1.4m high. A pit in the north western side of the cairn represents the site of a partial early undocumented investigation. The second cairn lies north of the first and is of the ring type. It survives as a 4m wide rubble bank standing up to 0.9m high surrounding an internal area measuring 11.9m in diameter. The remaining two cairns lie to the north west. The closest one to the ring cairn is 4m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high, whilst the northern one is 6m in diameter and 0.7m high. A small pit in the centre of the latter cairn represents the site of an early undocumented investigation.

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: 28769

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
RCHME, , Holne Moor Survey carried out for DNPA, (1966)
RCHME, , Holne Moor Survey carried out for DNPA, (1966)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67SE83, (1985)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX67SE84, (1993)

End of official listing