Ancient Monuments

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Stone circle and cairn 330m south of Little Hound Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Gidleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.69 / 50°41'24"N

Longitude: -3.9371 / 3°56'13"W

OS Eastings: 263269.768049

OS Northings: 89609.20883

OS Grid: SX632896

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.4VVG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27N8.005

Entry Name: Stone circle and cairn 330m south of Little Hound Tor

Scheduled Date: 19 January 1962

Last Amended: 6 March 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010786

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24136

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Gidleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


This monument includes a stone circle and small cairn situated on a saddle
between the two Hound Tors overlooking Raybarrow Pool and the valley of the
Small Brook. The diameter of the stone circle is 20.2m and it includes
18 stones, of which one has fallen and another is leaning. The stones are
evenly spaced at roughly 3m intervals and vary in size from 0.3m to 1.15m
high, though several have had their tops broken off. Slight undulations within
the interior of the circle are probably the result of 19th century turf
Five of the stones were re-erected by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee and
these may be those which have a fresher appearance than the others.
A small round cairn lies 5m south west of the stone circle and survives as a
circular mound 2m in diameter and 0.15m high.
A further cairn lying 70m to the south east of the monument is the subject of
a separate scheduling.

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 circles, or circular
arrangements of upright stones, were set into the ground and acted as
ceremonial and funerary monuments during the later Neolithic and Bronze Age
periods (c.2400-700 BC). On Dartmoor they are often found in association with
stone alignments and burial monuments such as cairns and cists. The circles
may be single or enclose further circles; they may occur as isolated examples
or in groups. The 26 examples on Dartmoor form one of the most dense
concentrations of monuments of this type in the country. Due to their relative
rarity (with a national population of only some 200 examples) and longevity as
a monument type, all stone circles are considered to be nationally important.

A small cairn lies 5m south west of the stone circle. 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 of turf stripping and partial restoration, the stone circle
and small cairn 330m south of Little Hound Tor survive comparatively well and
contain archaeological information. Archaeological deposits and features
probably survive within the interior of the circle. This monument forms part
of a larger ritual complex, which includes at least four cairns, a standing
stone and this stone circle.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 203-204
Baring-Gould, S, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Third Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, , Vol. 28, (1896), 181-182
Prowse, A B, 'Devonshire Association Transactions' in Notes On The Neighbourhood of Taw Marsh, North Dartmoor, , Vol. 22, (1890), 189
Turner, J R, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Ring Cairns, Stone Circles and Related Monuments on Dartmoor, , Vol. 48, (1990), 56
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX68NW6, (1993)

Source: Historic England

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