Ancient Monuments

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One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Ugborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4111 / 50°24'40"N

Longitude: -3.8927 / 3°53'33"W

OS Eastings: 265613.590924

OS Northings: 58520.023196

OS Grid: SX656585

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.3FV6

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QY.Z5X

Entry Name: One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1953

Last Amended: 10 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013060

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10600

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ugborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Ugborough St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


Many examples of Prehistoric funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor,
mostly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500BC). To celebrate or commemorate
the dead, mounds of earth or stone were piled in roughly hemispherical shape
over the burial, which was sometimes contained in a small rectangular
structure, or cist, made out of stone slabs. Some monuments also include
kerbstones marking the outer edge of the mound and a surrounding ditch. The
four cairns on Butterdon Hill are similarly constructed with a mound of stones
built on a stone and earth base the circumference of which projects beyond the
stones. They range in diameter from 15m to 28m and in height from 1m to 3m and
are part of a series of large stone cairns along the ridge between Butterdon
Hill and Weatherdon Hill.
This cairn, on the south-west slope of Butterdon Hill, consists of a mound of
stones built upon a stone, earth and turf base, possibly with a berm and
ditch. It is 15m in diameter and approximately 1.8m high and is one of a
series of similar large cairns along the ridge between Butterdon Hill and
Weatherdon Hill.

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 provides direct evidence
of 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 land use through time.
These four large cairns are well preserved examples and occupy prominent
positions on the brow of Butterdon Hill, forming part of a series of large,
probably high status, cairns of similar construction on hilltops along the
eastern side of the Erme Valley. The group of cairns on this hill suggests
that it was of particular importance as a focal point for the local community.
The relationship of this group with other cairns indicates the wealth of
evidence relating to the ritual side of Prehistoric life on this part of the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Grinsell, L V, 'Devon Archaeological Society Proceedings' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978)
SMR SX 65 NE 222,

Source: Historic England

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