Ancient Monuments

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Cairns north of Corndon Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Widecombe in the Moor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5578 / 50°33'28"N

Longitude: -3.8553 / 3°51'19"W

OS Eastings: 268675.2773

OS Northings: 74757.8092

OS Grid: SX686747

Mapcode National: GBR QB.0CCD

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TL.FVF

Entry Name: Cairns N of Corndon Tor

Scheduled Date:

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003290

English Heritage Legacy ID: DV 531

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Widecombe in the Moor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Leusdon St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Two round cairns 560m north of Corndon Tor within the Dartmeet coaxial field system.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 5 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, includes two round cairns situated to the north of Corndon Tor on the summit of a slightly lower ridge forming part of Corndon Down and also lying within the Dartmeet coaxial field system. The eastern cairn survives as a circular stony mound measuring 21m in diameter and 2.5m high and is immediately adjacent to a reave. The western cairn survives as a circular stony mound measuring up to 25m in diameter and 2m high which is immediately adjacent to a cross reave. The centre of this mound has a hollow formed through early partial excavation in the 1820’s when a group of about 50 holiday makers and locals opened several cairns in the vicinity and found ‘a pot or two’.

Further archaeological remains survive within the vicinity some are scheduled but others are not included because they have not been formally assessed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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.

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south- western Britain.

Despite partial early excavation, the two round cairns 560m north of Corndon Tor within the Dartmeet coaxial field system survive comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, funerary use and landscape context. The position of the cairns within the coaxial field system enhances their importance, contributing as they do to a very well preserved prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)

Source: Historic England

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