Prehistoric settlement and field system 240m east of Challacombe Cross


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020097

Date first listed: 20-Mar-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric settlement and field system 240m east of Challacombe Cross
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: Teignbridge (District Authority)

Parish: North Bovey

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 69717 83090


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 settlement and field system 240m east of Challacombe Cross survives particularly well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the exploitation of this area during the prehistoric and historic periods. This is a visually impressive settlement situated in an area popular with visitors to the Moor.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric settlement together with associated fields situated on a north facing slope on Shapley Common overlooking the valley of the Green Combe. The settlement lies within the Shapley Common coaxial field system and includes at least five stone hut circles and four rectangular fields. The field walls survive as earthworks with frequent protruding orthostats; the two western fields were added at a later date. The stone hut circles survive as orthostatic walls each surrounding a circular internal area which varies from 5.3m to 7.7m in diameter. The surrounding walls measure up to 1.2m high and three of the huts have clearly defined doorways. The northernmost hut is attached to a courtyard which was divided in two by an historic boundary bank and ditch. Two historic boundaries lead through the monument with the area between representing an access route to the high moorland. All of the stone hut circles are situated within the area between the boundaries suggesting that the fields were deliberately laid out to avoid them.

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: 22376

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 161

End of official listing