Cairnfield 460m south east of Cox Tor


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Cairnfield 460m south east of Cox Tor
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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This copy shows the entry on 15-Oct-2019 at 19:48:42.


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

West Devon (District Authority)
Peter Tavy
West Devon (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 53339 75871, SX 53413 75880, SX 53425 75839

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.

The cairnfield 460m south east of Cox Tor survives well and together with an associated coaxial field system forms part of a particularly well-preserved palimpsest on the lower slopes of Cox Tor containing abundant evidence for the use of the area in both prehistoric and historic times.


The monument, which falls into three areas of protection includes a cairnfield, a short length of corn ditch and a length of partly lynchetted rubble bank situated on a natural terrace on Cox Tor overlooking Whitchurch Common. The cairnfield includes a cluster of at least 16 mounds, most of which are circular in shape. The circular mounds vary in diameter between 2m and 8m, with the average being 4.11m. The remaining two cairns are oval and these are 8.3m and 7m long by 3.7m and 4.7m wide. The cairns stand between 0.3m and 0.8m high with the average being 0.55m. At least four of the cairns have been robbed or partially excavated and one has been constructed adjacent to a large granite rock. The partly lynchetted rubble bank lies to the north west of the cairns and denotes the northern edge of the natural terrace on which the cairnfield is situated. For much of its length it is 1.6m wide and stands up to 0.4m high, although in places it survives as a substantial lynchet standing 1.3m high. This monument sits within an extensive coaxial field system which extends over much of Whitchurch Common and the slopes of Cox Tor. This forms the subject of separate schedulings.

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:


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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