Cairn and cist 150m north of Vixen Tor


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021118

Date first listed: 13-May-2003


Ordnance survey map of Cairn and cist 150m north of Vixen Tor
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: West Devon (District Authority)

Parish: Whitchurch

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 54240 74392


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.

Despite partial excavation and reconstruction, the cairn and cist 150m north of Vixen Tor survive well and will contain environmental and archaeological information relating to the monument and the landscape in which it was constructed. This monument lies on the edge of a coaxial field system and forms part of a particularly well preserved palimpsest. Abundant evidence for the use of the area in both prehistoric and historic times considerably enhances the significance of the monument.


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


The monument includes a cairn containing a cist situated to the north of Vixen Tor on a gentle south facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The cairn survives as a 5.5m diameter mound standing up to 0.2m high. The cist stands within the cairn and survives as a 1.2m long by 0.5m wide and 0.33m deep stone lined pit. The top of the cist protrudes above the present ground surface and is covered by two slabs. Until recently these slabs lay on the western edge of the cist. This monument sits on the edge of an extensive coaxial field system which extends over much of the adjacent Whitchurch Common and the slopes of Cox Tor.

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: 34485

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 34

End of official listing