Field systems, hut circles and four beacons, 510m south of Middle Soar


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020574

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2002


Ordnance survey map of Field systems, hut circles and four beacons, 510m south of Middle Soar
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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: Malborough

National Grid Reference: SX 71215 36592


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

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The field systems and associated hut circles 510m south of Middle Soar are an important survival in an area where such features are rare. Their earthworks, occupation layers and other buried deposits will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction and use in the contemporary landscape. The beacons are of importance to the understanding of the later use of the site.


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


This monument includes a regular aggregate field system of small sub- rectangular fields containing several hut circles and four post-medieval beacons. It is located on heathland at the foot of a steepand rocky coastal slope. Cliffs fall 40m to the sea on the south side of the site, which enjoys spectacular views along the cliffs to the east and west. The field walls are from 2m to 4m wide, and up to 1m high, constructed of earth and stone rubble, with vertical stone slabs in places, set edge to edge in the form of a fence. The huts are scattered throughout the field system, mostly singly, but occasionally in pairs, and usually placed close to or abutting the field banks. They measure from 8m to 12m in diameter, their walls being constructed of horizontal stone slabs and earth, measuring 2m wide and up to 1m high. At the eastern end of the scheduling, four stone platforms on a north west to south east alignment represent bases for post-medieval navigation beacons. They are constructed of drystone rubble with facing stones laid on end and their interiors filled with rubble. They vary in size and shape, the first two from the west being semicircular, measuring 5m across and 2.5m into the slope, falling up to 0.7m to the hillside. The third and fourth examples are sub- rectangular, measuring 6m long, 5m wide and 1.5m high with facing stones on three sides. Large angled slabs, once set vertically, surround the edges, while the tops each contain a slight depression.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34884

Legacy System: RSM


MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)

End of official listing