Stone alignment, cairns, enclosed prehistoric settlement and a length of reave on Hurston Ridge


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

West Devon (District Authority)
West Devon (District Authority)
Dartmoor Forest
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 67234 82499

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 alignments or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000 BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half the recorded national population. Due to their comparative rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally important, unless very badly damaged.

The relationship between the stone alignment, enclosure and reave on Hurston Ridge is especially important as it graphically illustrates the chronological range of this monument as well as providing more general information on the relative date of stone alignments. Within this monument it is clear that the stone alignment was built first, followed by the reave, then the enclosure and finally the hut stone hut circles. This is the only site on the Moor where major classes of prehistoric monument have such a clearly defined chronology. All of the components survive well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence for the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed.


The monument includes a stone alignment, cairns, enclosed prehistoric settlement and a length of reave on a gentle north facing slope of Hurston Ridge. The stone alignment includes two parallel lines of upright stones leading downslope for 143m from a round cairn. The lower end of the alignment is denoted by a blocking stone. Midway along the alignment a length of later enclosure walling crosses the row. The cairn at the upper end of the alignment measures 5.9m in diameter and stands up to 0.6m high. A large slab denoting the north eastern edge of the cairn may represent a second blocking stone of the associated alignment. The second cairn within this monument lies at NGR SX67668350, adjacent to an agglomerated enclosure. This cairn measures 4m in diameter and stands 0.5m high. Hollows in the centre of both cairns indicate that they have been subjected to partial early excavation or robbing. The agglomerated enclosure attached to the Hurston Ridge reave near its northern end survives as two `D'-shaped areas surrounded by 3m wide banks standing up to 0.6m high. The northern enclosure is earliest and the interior of the southern one has been disturbed by peat cutting. The southern enclosure about 1km further south, contains at least six stone hut circles with a seventh attached to the outer face of the enclosure wall. This enclosure measures 210m long by up to 118m wide and is denoted by orthostatic walling. This wall passes across the stone alignment which as a result lies partially within the enclosure. The stone hut circles associated with the enclosure survive as banks each surrounding a circular internal area 3m to 5m in diameter, with the average being 3.9m. The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 0.25m and 0.6m, with the average being 0.42m. Six of the huts are butted to earlier enclosure or reave walling, whilst one appears to have been cut into the reave. The surviving length of the Hurston Ridge reave leads from NGR SX66708166 to SX67738404 and for much of its length is a wide bank up to 4m wide and 0.8m high. This reave is considered to represent a territorial division between two prehistoric communities.

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:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 31
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 32
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 221
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2000)


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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