Prehistoric enclosures on Dewerstone Hill, 500m south east of Dewerstone Cottage


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)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SX 53862 63986

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The prehistoric enclosures on Dewerstone Hill, 500m south east of Dewerstone Cottage survive well and will contain information relating to the use of this strategic location throughout later prehistory. The larger enclosure is considered to be of Neolithic date and very few examples of this type of site are thought to survive in South West England. The smaller enclosure and associated stone hut circles survive well as examples of those typically found on Dartmoor.


The monument includes two enclosures and associated stone hut circles situated on the summit of a steep sided promontory overlooking the confluence of the rivers Meavy and Plym. The interior of the largest enclosure measures 220m long by 170m wide and is denoted by two parallel rubble walls separating the promontory from its surroundings. These walls consist largely of loose rubble, measure 4m wide and stand up to 0.7m high. The gap between the two walls is around 1m, although this was probably originally greater. A gap cutting through the walls represents the site of an original stone faced entrance passage, which now measures 12m long by 2m wide. There are no traces of walling adjacent to the steep slopes around the southern part of the monument. It is considered that this structure represents the site of a Neolithic hilltop enclosure. The smaller rectangular enclosure lies within the earlier Neolithic one and survives as a 75m long by 55m wide area denoted by a partly lyncheted rubble bank standing up to 1.3m high. The enclosure wall is attached to an earlier stone hut circle which survives as a 0.8m high rubble bank surrounding a circular internal area measuring 9.4m in diameter. Attached to the eastern side of this hut is a small annex denoted by a 0.8m wide and 0.3m high earthwork. The second stone hut circle is butted to the inside edge of the Neolithic enclosure and survives as a 5m long by 4m wide oval shaped area surrounded by rubble. The smaller enclosure and two stone hut circles are considered to be of Bronze Age date.

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, (1994), 98


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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