Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, associated fields and a length of the Great Western Reave 500m south of Wedlake Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Peter Tavy, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5741 / 50°34'26"N

Longitude: -4.0637 / 4°3'49"W

OS Eastings: 253965.585312

OS Northings: 76956.781825

OS Grid: SX539769

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.F61B

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CK.4NG

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, associated fields and a length of the Great Western Reave 500m south of Wedlake Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007865

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20389

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Peter Tavy

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes twenty-one stone hut circles, a short length of the
Great Western Reave, one medieval or post-medieval shelter and at least twelve
fields situated on a gentle north-west-facing slope overlooking the valley of
the Colly Brook. Together these form a large part of the unenclosed stone hut
circle settlement on the north-western slopes of Roos Tor. Nineteen of the
stone hut circles are attached to boundary walls. Eighteen of the huts are
circular in plan and the internal diameters of these huts vary from 2m to
6.3m, with the average being 2.98m. Three huts are oval in plan and these
measure between 4.9m and 2m long by 4.2 and 1.7m wide. The height of all the
hut walls varies between 0.25m and 0.7m and the average is 0.39m. Seven huts
have visible doorways and two are attached to each other. The field system
associated with the settlement includes around twelve irregular fields. In
most cases the boundaries abut the huts, suggesting that the fields were added
at some date after the settlement was established.
The Great Western Reave has a total length of 10 kilometres and is the longest
known Prehistoric land division boundary on Dartmoor. Within the area of the
scheduling it runs downslope in a north-westerly direction and upslope to the
south-east. It is composed of loose rubble, measures 3.5m wide and stands up
to 0.8m high. The field boundaries associated with the settlement appear to
abut the reave and are therefore more recent. All the stone hut circles lie
to one side of the reave and this indicates that the reave was respected as a
land division boundary during the life of this settlement.
The rectangular medieval or post-medieval shelter is attached to the eastern
face of the Great Western Reave. The interior of the building measures 4m
long by 2.3m wide and is defined by a 1.6m wide boulder wall standing up to
0.4m high.

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. Stone hut circles and hut settlements
were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date
from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building
tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low
walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch
roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups
and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although
they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The unenclosed stone hut circle settlement with its associated fields 500m
south of Wedlake Farm is the only large Prehistoric settlement on the west
side of the Moor which was not excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration
Committee. Important and informative archaeological structures, features and
deposits therefore still survive intact. The close relationship between the
fields and buildings provides an insight into agricultural practice. The
multi-phase character of the site makes it a likely source of information
relating to the development of upland settlements and agricultural techniques.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991)
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988)
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NW57, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1981)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW19, (1991)
National Archaeological Record, SX57NW30, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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