Cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020871

Date first listed: 12-Mar-2003


Ordnance survey map of Cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head
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This copy shows the entry on 23-Jan-2019 at 20:35:29.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 61724 85476


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. Cists are small rectangular stone structures used for burial purposes and date to the Bronze Age. On Dartmoor they are made up of regular stone slabs forming a box-like structure sometimes topped by a larger coverstone. Short cists survive as free-standing monuments, with no enclosing stone and earth cairn. On Dartmoor cists are also associated with cairns, ring cairns and cairnfield groups, but these free-standing examples form a separate group in their own right. Their longevity, having been in use for a millennium or so, provides insight into the range of ceremonial and ritual practices of the contemporary farming communities. The Dartmoor examples provide one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of this class of monument in south-western Britain and, as such, a high proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The cist on Whitehorse Hill, 910m south east of Taw Head survives very well and most notably it contains some of its original contents. Important environmental information will survive both within and around the cist as will crucial evidence relating to its construction.


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


The monument includes a cist situated near the summit of Whitehorse Hill. The cist was, until 2001, visible in the edge of an irregularly shaped island of peat standing above its surroundings. Only the western edge of the cist was exposed, the remainder, including the cist's original contents, being sealed beneath peat deposits. The cist measures 0.3m deep by 0.4m wide and its capstone remains in its original position. Early in 2001 a protective drystone wall measuring 3m long by 0.9m high was built in front of the western edge of the cist, which as a result is no longer visible. The drystone wall is included in the scheduling. This cist stands at a considerable height above sea level and, perhaps as a consequence, no broadly contemporary settlements are known to survive within its vicinity.

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: 34445

Legacy System: RSM


Fieldwork by Joe Turner, Turner, Joe, Whitehorse Hill Cist, (2000)

End of official listing