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Two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round cairn and stone alignment on Walkhampton Common

A Scheduled Monument in Walkhampton, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5314 / 50°31'52"N

Longitude: -4.018 / 4°1'4"W

OS Eastings: 257073.874552

OS Northings: 72121.415081

OS Grid: SX570721

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.PZPL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GN.JGR

Entry Name: Two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round cairn and stone alignment on Walkhampton Common

Scheduled Date: 16 July 1974

Last Amended: 20 June 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011191

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22323

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes two lengths of reave, two stone hut circles, a round
cairn and stone alignment situated on Walkhampton Common. The various
components of this monument are all thought to be of Bronze Age date, but the
stone hut circles, cairn and stone alignment are all earlier than the reaves.
The Walkhampton Common reave separates the Meavy and Walkham valleys with a
remarkably straight central section overgrown in places by peat. Unlike the
other watershed reaves this one is not aligned on a tor or skyline barrow.
The reave can be traced from SX 56007050 in the clitter of Sharpitor to
SX 57837306 at a terrace of the disused Princetown to Yelverton railway line.
A 2070m length of this reave is included within this monument, other lengths
forming parts of other monuments. Within the area of this monument, the reave
survives as a 3m wide stony bank standing up to 0.8m high. Apparent short
gaps in the reave occur where dense peat accumulation has buried the bank.
The second reave includes a 302m length of boundary bank extending at right
angles from the Walkhampton Common reave to the clitter on the south side of
Leeden Tor. This reave survives as a 0.6m high, prominent rubble and boulder
bank with an average width of 2.8m. In places along its length are several
small cairns with an average diameter of 4m standing up to 0.5m high. This
reave is a transverse boundary, which would have originally connected the
Walkhampton Common reave to the Great Western Reave and would have sub-divided
open pasture land.
Two stone hut circles which are adjacent and aligned north west-south east,
are attached to the transverse reave by short lengths of rubble walling. These
structures survive as stone and earth walls surrounding an internal area. Gaps
in this walling represent original doorways. The interior of the northern hut
measures 6.3m in diameter and the 2.5m wide wall stands up to 0.5m high. The
southern hut measures 8.4m in diameter and the surrounding wall is 2.5m wide
and 0.7m high. An internal partition has been identified within this
structure. A round cairn lying on the line of the transverse reave measures 9m
in diameter and stands up to 1m high. A number of retaining stones are visible
around the north east edge of the mound, suggesting the presence of a kerb
which survives largely as a buried feature. This cairn is earlier than the
reave, to which it is connected, and is probably associated with the nearby
stone alignment which is aligned onto the cairn, though it now terminates 28m
from the mound. The stone alignment is 132m long and includes a single row of
16 stones. The stones stand between 0.2m and 0.7m high and are spaced at
regular intervals of about 13m. The Walkhampton Common reave cuts across this
alignment and is therefore of a more recent date.
Stone hut circles and enclosures survive within close proximity to this
monument.

MAP EXTRACT
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.

In addition to the stone hut circles the monument includes two lengths of
reave, which form part of a coaxial field system. The reaves are part of an
extensive system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze
Age. They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete
territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are
defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land
from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of
adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial monuments
are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes. Their
longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important
information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions and
farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They show considerable
longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in
medieval field plans.
The monument also includes a round cairn which is a funerary monument also of
Bronze Age date. Round cairns 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. Dartmoor provides one of the best
preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south western
Britain.
The final component of the monument is a stone alignment. Stone alignments
or stone rows consist of upright stones set in single file or in avenues of
two or more parallel lines, up to several hundred metres in length. They are
often physically linked to burial monuments, such as small cairns, cists and
barrows, and are considered to have had an important ceremonial function. The
Dartmoor alignments mostly date from the Late Neolithic period (c.2400-2000
BC). Some eighty examples, most of them on the outer Moor, provide over half
the recorded national population.
The two stone hut circles, lengths of reave, round cairn and stone alignment
on Walkhampton Common survive comparatively well and lie within an area
containing a large number of contemporary settlements, fields and enclosures.
This combination of sites is important in understanding the development of the
Dartmoor landscape during the prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE17.1,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE17.4,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE171,
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE172,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE104,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE91,
RAF, CPE/UK/2149, (1947)
Title: SX 57 SE Ordnance Survey 1:10000 Map
Source Date: 1982
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Source: Historic England

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