Prehistoric settlement, field system, cairn and three pillow mounds, 290m north east of Merrivale Bridge


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019569

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric settlement, field system, cairn and three pillow mounds, 290m north east of Merrivale Bridge
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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 55289 75199


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 prehistoric settlement 290m north east of Merrivale Bridge survives well despite lying close to the much visited, broadly contemporary stone alignments and settlements at Merrivale. Information relating to the exploitation of the area together with environmental data survives within this settlement and its associated field system. The small cairn south of the enclosures will contain further information concerning the inhabitants of this settlement and their burial tradition. The pillow mounds are later in date and form part of the nationally important Merrivale Warren.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, associated field system and cairn together with three historic pillow mounds situated on a relatively steep west facing slope within Merrivale Newtake, overlooking the River Walkham. The prehistoric settlement includes at least four stone hut circles sitting within a field system denoted by walls composed of large rubble blocks standing up to 0.8m high. The stone hut circles survive as banks, each surrounding a circular or oval internal area of between 13sq m and 20sq m, with the average being 15 sq m. The hut walls are of single orthostatic construction and their heights vary between 0.25m and 0.5m, with the average being 0.36m. Adjacent to the southern part of the field system is a small cairn which survives as a 5.7m diameter mound standing up to 0.6m high. Edge set stones around the periphery of the mound suggest the survival of a kerb. A large number of quartz stones lie on this mound suggesting that it was deliberately covered by a layer of quartz to enhance its appearance. The three pillow mounds within the monument form part of Merrivale Warren, which includes at least 27 pillow mounds scattered along the lower slopes of Great Mis Tor, Little Mis Tor and Over Tor. It has been suggested that many of the pillow mounds within the Merrivale Warren may be of medieval date because of their unusual oval shape and association with a nearby medieval settlement. Most of the pillow mounds, including these ones, lie within the Merrivale Newtake, but some lie on open moorland just outside the intake wall. The remaining components of this warren are the subject of separate schedulings. These pillow mounds survive as flat-topped, sub-rectangular mounds of soil and stone surrounded on three sides by the ditches from which material was quarried during their construction. The mounds are between 8.2m and 9.7m long by between 6m and 6.6m wide. All three mounds are up to 1.5m high.

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: 22398

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 127
MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1999)

End of official listing