Ancient Monuments

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Four round cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor

A Scheduled Monument in Walkhampton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.516 / 50°30'57"N

Longitude: -4.0282 / 4°1'41"W

OS Eastings: 256304.8325

OS Northings: 70432.367431

OS Grid: SX563704

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.QWN4

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GP.LHX

Entry Name: Four round cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor

Scheduled Date: 13 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007643

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22275

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a closely spaced group of four round cairns situated on
a gentle north east facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy.
The northern cairn mound measures 4.5m in diameter and stands up to 0.8m high.
A number of retaining stones are visible around the north eastern perimeter of
the mound, indicating the presence of a kerb, which survives largely as a
buried feature.
The western cairn measures 6m in diameter by 0.8m high and is defined by a
kerb which survives partly as a buried feature. The centre of the cairn has
been partially excavated to reveal a stone cist, orientated NNE-SSW. The
interior of this cist measures 1.1m long, 0.6m wide and 0.3m deep. The
southern cairn mound measures 4m in diameter and is 0.7m high, whilst the
eastern cairn stands up to 0.8m high and measures 4m in diameter.

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.

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 evidence for the partial excavation of one mound, the four round
cairns 340m ENE of Sharpitor survive well and contain archaeological and
environmental evidence relating to the monument and the landscape in which it
was constructed. The cairns form an important constituent part of a diverse
group of monuments including contemporary settlements, field-systems and other
funerary sites. This group of cairns lies midway between two similar sized
settlements and they may therefore also have acted as territorial markers for
neighbouring communities.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,

Source: Historic England

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