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A double stone alignment and three cairns south-west of Black Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Walkhampton, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5255 / 50°31'31"N

Longitude: -4.0173 / 4°1'2"W

OS Eastings: 257105.482436

OS Northings: 71466.583687

OS Grid: SX571714

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.QCX3

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GN.YJD

Entry Name: A double stone alignment and three cairns south-west of Black Tor

Scheduled Date: 6 January 1972

Last Amended: 8 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011255

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22290

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Walkhampton

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a double stone alignment and three round cairns
situated on the crest of a south-facing slope overlooking the valley of the
River Meavy. The stone alignment is orientated from north-east to south-west
and includes a 283.6m long, double row of at least eighty-one stones,
averaging in height between 0.5m and 0.8m. Sixty stones in the southern row
are visible, though more may be buried in the post-medieval field wall which
runs parallel and immediately next to the row. The northern row includes at
least twenty-one stones which are visible within the later field boundary. At
the north-eastern end of the row there is a blocking stone measuring 0.8m
high, 1.2m wide and 0.2m thick, which is partially buried beneath the field
At the south-western end of the stone alignment are three cairns. The
largest one lies 6m from the identified end of the stone alignment and
measures 9m long, 4m wide and 0.8m high and partially underlies the field
The second cairn lies to the north-east of the first cairn and measures 5m in
diameter and 0.5m high. A hollow in the centre of the mound suggests partial
early excavation or robbing. The third cairn lies south-east of the second,
and measures 3.5m in diameter by 0.4m high.
A large number of cairns have been identified in the area south of the stone
alignment. These are not included in the scheduling because they are probably
associated with post-medieval field clearance.

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 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. Due to their comparative rarity and
longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered nationally
important, unless very badly damaged.

In addition to the stone alignment the monument includes three round cairns,
which 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 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 limited damage as a result of post-medieval field boundary
construction and partial excavation of one of the cairns, the double stone
alignment and three associated cairns south-west of Black Tor survive
comparatively well within an area containing at least three other stone
alignments, a large number of broadly contemporary settlements and funerary
monuments. The later field boundary constructed over part of the monument,
detracts from its visual amenity but has provided significant protection
against weathering and erosion.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Worth, R H, Worth's Dartmoor, (1981), 212-213
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX57SE102,
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard,
National Archaeological Record, SX57SE35,
Robinson, R., AM107 Stone Row SW of BLack Tor, (1983)

Source: Historic England

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