Tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019573

Date first listed: 09-Mar-2001


Ordnance survey map of Tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor
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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: Walkhampton

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 58087 69367


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 provides 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. Tor cairns are ceremonial monuments dating to the Early and Middle Bronze Age (c.2000-1000 BC). They were constructed as ring banks of stone rubble, up to 35m in external diameter, sometimes with entrances and external ditches, and roughly concentric around natural outcrops or tors. In some cases a kerb of edge-set stones bounded the inner edge of the bank, and the area between the bank and the outcrop was sometimes in-filled by laying down a platform of stone rubble or turves. Excavated examples have revealed post-holes and pits within the area defined by the ring-bank, some containing burial evidence, and scatters of Bronze Age artefacts concentrated around the central tor. Tor cairns usually occur as isolated monuments, though several are associated with broadly contemporary cairn cemeteries. They are very rare nationally with only 40-50 known examples concentrated on the higher moors of Devon and Cornwall, where their situation in prominent locations makes them a major visual element in the modern landscape. As a rare monument type, all surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

The tor cairn 60m south east of Down Tor survives well and is one of a very small number of known examples on Dartmoor where the ring banks are attached to the face of a tor or substantial rock. Archaeological and environmental information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was erected survives within this cairn, which is situated in a prominent position overlooking substantial tracts of the Moor.


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


The monument includes a tor cairn situated on a gentle south east facing slope overlooking the Narrator Brook. The cairn survives as a horseshoe shaped band of edge set stones leading from a large granite outcrop. The northern side of the cairn includes two parallel lines of edge set stones extending for 4.3m from the granite outcrop. Both of these lines are formed by at least ten stones and stand up to 0.4m high. The southern side of the cairn is denoted by nine stones set on top of a large granite boulder. The area enclosed by the cairn bank measures 6m wide at the western side, 2.8m wide at the east and up to 4.3m long from east to west.

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: 24112

Legacy System: RSM


Hooley, D, (1997)

End of official listing