Prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020091

Date first listed: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system
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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 68982 71320


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. Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system survive well and form part of the best preserved coaxial field system on Dartmoor. The Dartmeet coaxial field system extends over 3000ha and enough of it survives to enable a full understanding of the widespread character and impact of Bronze Age farming techniques on the moorland landscapes.


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


The monument includes a group of coaxial fields, associated stone hut circles and an area of historic fields situated on a spur leading northward into the valley of the River Dart. The coaxial fields form part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system and survive as rubble banks which in places have been modified during the construction of later historic fields. There are three parallel reaves within the monument, from which several other boundaries lead, creating a number of smaller fields and enclosures. Within the field system there are at least ten stone hut circles. The stone hut circles survive as rubble or orthostatic walls each surrounding a circular internal area measuring between 4m and 8.4m in diameter. The surrounding walls measure up to 0.8m high and one hut has a visible doorway. Two separate groups of historic fields lie within the monument. The northern group survives as three agglomerated fields which in part have reused some of the earlier prehistoric boundaries. The southern group includes part of one field with the remainder lying beyond the monument. Small clearance cairns surviving within the monument are the result of stone clearance activities during the historic period. Another activity of historic date for which archaeological remains survive is mineral prospecting, as several distinctive small rectangular pits formed during the search for tin lie scattered amongst the earlier fields. The active leat leading through the monument and the electricity supply poles are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

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: 22369

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 178
Title: Holne Moor Survey Source Date: 1997 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: 1:2500 plan

End of official listing