Rabbit warren 410m west and 310m north west of Beardown Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1021176

Date first listed: 22-Dec-2003


Ordnance survey map of Rabbit warren 410m west and 310m north west of Beardown Farm
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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: Dartmoor Forest

National Park: DARTMOOR

National Grid Reference: SX 60015 75441, SX 60155 75595


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 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. Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places, known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept charge of the warren. Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and 10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed. Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with the majority lying in the Plym Valley. Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in which the warrener lived. Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early 20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of protection.

The rabbit warren 430m west and 310m north west of Beardown Farm survives well and represents a good example of a compact 19th century commercial warren. Information concerning rabbit management will survive in and around the many pillow mounds.


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


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, comprises a rabbit warren situated on a south facing slope of Beardown Hill overlooking the valley of the Cowsic River. The warren includes at least 50 pillow mounds, with all but one lying to the south of a now abandoned length of the Devonport Leat. The pillow mounds vary between 2.3m and 54m long, with the average being 9.38m. They stand between 0.5m and 1m high and most are surrounded by a ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. The earliest reference to the warren is in a Duchy of Cornwall lease of 1808 and it is generally believed that the warren was established at around this time. The nearby Dartmoor Prison may have been the primary market for the produce.

The modern fence posts within the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground below is included.

The Devonport Leat which passes under the monument via an undergound pipeline is totally excluded from the scheduling.

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: 34473

Legacy System: RSM


Beardown Farm Survey, Probert, S.A.J., SX67NW71, (1988)

End of official listing