Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Two cairns forming the western edge of a cairnfield on the northern slope of White Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Lydford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6372 / 50°38'14"N

Longitude: -4.0757 / 4°4'32"W

OS Eastings: 253314.600155

OS Northings: 84005.828034

OS Grid: SX533840

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.98YM

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CD.00Z

Entry Name: Two cairns forming the western edge of a cairnfield on the northern slope of White Hill

Scheduled Date: 26 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007661

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22349

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Lydford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes two cairns orientated east-west and situated on a
south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the Walla Brook. The eastern
cairn measures 4m in diameter and stands up to 0.4m high. The western cairn is
ovoid in shape, measures 4.7m long, 3.5m wide and 0.6m high. These cairns form
an outlying part of a cairnfield which includes at least 22 mounds as well as
a length of boundary bank and a lynchet.

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,
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. Cairnfields are concentrations of three or
more cairns sited within close proximity to one another; they may consist of
burial cairns or cairns built with stone cleared from the land surface
(clearance cairns). Round funerary cairns were constructed during the Bronze
Age (c.2000-700 BC) and consisted of earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes
ditched, which covered single or multiple burials. Often occupying prominent
locations, they are a major visual element in the modern landscape. The
considerable variation in the size of cairnfields and their 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.

The cairnfield on the northern slope of White Hill survives well and contains
archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the monument and the
landscape in which it was constructed. It provides a valuable insight into
Bronze Age agricultural activity on the western side of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 107
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
Raymond, F, Single Monument Class Description - Cairnfields, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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