Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Cairn with a cist east of Willings Walls Reave

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4697 / 50°28'10"N

Longitude: -3.9986 / 3°59'54"W

OS Eastings: 258266.2854

OS Northings: 65226.656

OS Grid: SX582652

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.0YGM

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JT.61S

Entry Name: Cairn with a cist east of Willings Walls Reave

Scheduled Date: 2 July 1965

Last Amended: 2 December 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1012209

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10649

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Many examples of Prehistoric funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor,
mostly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500 BC). To celebrate or commemorate
the dead, mounds of earth or stone were piled in a roughly hemispherical
shape over the burial, which was sometimes contained in a small rectangular
structure or cist, made of stone slabs. Some monuments also include
kerbstones marking the outer edge of the mound or a surrounding ditch.
This cairn with a cist lies about 40m east of Willings Walls contour reave on
a north-facing slope above the south side of the valley of the River Plym. It
consists of a low mound with a cist within a retaining kerb, which is
constructed with large slabs. The cist is oriented south-east/north-west.
All the side and end slabs are present, but the end slabs have partially
fallen inwards; the capstone is displaced to the north-east. The side slabs
are 1.7m and 1.8m in length and the end slabs 0.8m and 0.9m in length. The
end slabs are positioned inside the side slabs and the depth of the cist is
0.5m. The capstone is 2.3m in length and 1.3m in width and 0.4m in thickness.
The mound is 5m in diameter and up to 0.2m in height. The nine retaining
kerbstones are up to 1m in height and there is a possible second outer kerb
of small boulders. This cairn lies some 130m south-east of another cairn on
the other side of Willings Walls Reave.

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.
This cairn with a cist east of Willings Walls contour reave is a well-
preserved example and occupies a significant position near the reave. Its
relationship to other funerary monuments and to the reave indicates the
wealth of evidence relating to the ritual side of Prehistoric life and to
land use on this part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Proc. Devon Arch. Soc.' in Dartmoor Barrows (0305 5795), , Vol. 36, (1978), 163
Devon County SMR SX56NE-024, Devon County SMR SX56NE-024,

Source: Historic England

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