Ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's Stoke


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020099

Date first listed: 18-Sep-2001


Ordnance survey map of Ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's Stoke
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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 69033 70678


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. A ring cairn is a prehistoric ritual monument comprising a circular bank of stones up to 20m in diameter surrounding a hollow central area. The bank may be kerbed on the inside, and sometimes on the outside as well, with small uprights or laid boulders. Ring cairns are found mainly in upland areas of England and are mostly discovered and authenticated by ground level fieldwork and survey, although a few are large enough to be visible on aerial photographs. They often occur in pairs or small groups of up to four examples. Occasionally they lie within round barrow cemeteries. Ring cairns are interpreted as ritual monuments of Early and Middle Bronze Age date. The exact nature of the rituals concerned is not fully understood, but excavation has revealed pits, some containing burials and others containing charcoal and pottery, taken to indicate feasting activities associated with the burial rituals. Many areas of upland have not yet been surveyed in detail and the number of ring cairns in England is not accurately known. However, available evidence indicates a population of between 250 and 500 examples. As a relatively rare class of monument exhibiting considerable variation in form, all positively identified examples retaining significant archaeological deposits are considered worthy of preservation.

Despite damage as the result of prospecting activity and later partial use as a car park, the ring cairn on Holne Moor 430m south west of Seale's Stoke survives comparatively well and contains archaeological and environmental information relating to the use of this area during the prehistoric period. This monument lies within a coaxial field system and forms part of a particularly well-preserved palimpsest on Holne Moor, with abundant evidence for its use and occupation in the prehistoric and historic periods.


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


The monument includes a ring cairn situated on Holne Moor overlooking Venford Reservoir and the valley of the River Dart. The cairn forms an outlying part of a discrete cluster of mounds situated along a prominent ridge. This cairn survives as an incomplete 2m wide circular rubble bank standing up to 0.3m high surrounding an internal area measuring 19.5m in diameter. The south western sector of this bank is no longer visible but may survive as a buried feature. In the centre of the enclosed area is an oval shaped mound measuring 9.7m long by 7.2m wide standing up to 0.4m high. Two small oval shaped hollows cutting into the western side of the ring cairn represent later tin prospecting pits.

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: 34433

Legacy System: RSM


RCHME archive drawing, Newman, P, (1996)

End of official listing