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An enclosure, six stone hut circles, a length of reave and several prospecting pits 170m north-east of Leather Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Walkhampton, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5135 / 50°30'48"N

Longitude: -4.0266 / 4°1'35"W

OS Eastings: 256407.927312

OS Northings: 70155.634993

OS Grid: SX564701

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.R3HR

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GP.T9L

Entry Name: An enclosure, six stone hut circles, a length of reave and several prospecting pits 170m north-east of Leather Tor

Scheduled Date: 21 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011247

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20294

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Details

This monument includes an irregular shaped enclosure, six stone hut circles, a
length of reave and several prospecting pits situated on a gentle
east-facing slope overlooking the valley of the River Meavy. The interior of
the enclosure measures 120m north to south by 76m east to west and is defined
by a rubble wall, up to 2.6m wide and 0.7m high on the north, lynchets
standing up to 2m wide and 0.8m high on the east and west, and a 2m wide and
0.4m high reave on the south. Five stone hut circles lie within the enclosure
and another is attached to the outer face at the north-east corner, where a
boundary bank leads downslope away from the enclosure. The stone hut circles
are composed of circular stone and earth banks surrounding an internal area.
The internal diameter of the huts varies between 2.9m and 4m with the average
being 3.26m. The height of the surrounding wall varies between 0.4m and 0.9m
with the average being 0.62m.
The length of reave denoting the southern side of the enclosure forms part
of the Leather Tor reave. The enclosure is attached to the reave, and this
relationship strongly suggests that the reave is earlier in date than the
enclosure.
Several prospecting pits lie within the enclosure surviving as small
rectangular pits with an associated crescent-shaped bank on the downslope
side. These pits were excavated by tinners searching for tin
ore during the medieval or post-medieval period.
A layer of overlying peat has provided a protective blanket for the
sensitive underlying archaeological deposits as well as being a source of
contemporary environmental information.

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor
there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though
earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or
as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to
accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size
and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their
particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to
other monument classes 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 enclosure, six stone hut circles, length of reave and several prospecting
pits 170m north-east of Leather Tor survive well within an area containing a
variety of archaeological monuments. The settlement contains archaeological
remains and environmental evidence relating to the monument, the economy of
its inhabitants and the landscape in which they lived and, as such, provides a
valuable insight into the nature of Bronze Age occupation on the west side of
the Moor. The multi-phase character of the settlement will provide information
concerning the changing domestic and agricultural requirements of an upland
Bronze Age society.
In addition to the enclosure, the monument includes a length of reave, which
forms part of a coaxial field system. The reaves are part of an extensive
system of prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age (c.2000-
700 BC). 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 for 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. They are an important element in the
existing landscape and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving
examples are considered worthy of protection.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988), 50
Other
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE187,
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
Raymond, F, Single Monument Class Description - Coaxial Field Systems, (1987)

Source: Historic England

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