Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement west of Butter Brook Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Harford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.418 / 50°25'4"N

Longitude: -3.9094 / 3°54'33"W

OS Eastings: 264448.303045

OS Northings: 59314.838971

OS Grid: SX644593

Mapcode National: GBR Q7.X3K5

Mapcode Global: FRA 27PY.BT4

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement west of Butter Brook Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013210

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10532

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Harford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Low stone walls or banks enclosing a circular internal floor area form the
remains of timber and turf or thatch-roofed dwellings occupied by farmers of
the prehistoric period. They may occur singly or in larger groups and were
sometimes built within a surrounding boundary bank or enclosure. On Dartmoor,
the long tradition of building stone-based round houses can be traced back to
the second millennium BC, probably from 1700 BC onwards.
The settlement at west of Butter Brook is unenclosed and consists of nine hut
circles on a gentle, south-facing slope above Butter Brook. The huts are from
10 m. to 13 m. in diameter with walls up to 2 m. thick and a metre high,
faced with upright stones on both sides. They have entrances, usually framed
by distinct orthostatic jambs, facing south-east. Some hut circles are set
into the slope, and one has been damaged by the track which runs to the
reservoir. A nearby group of huts lying within the reservoir plantation was
largely destroyed by the construction work in 1914; these may have all formed
a single group originally.

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
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.
The Butter Brook settlement is a well-preserved example of an unenclosed
stone hut circle settlement; the hut circles have distinctive orthostatic
entrances and wall-construction. Sited to take advantage of the source of
fresh water provided by Butter Brook, they provide exceptional evidence of how
early farming and stock-rearing communities lived on the Moor.

Source: Historic England


SX65NW-017. Report by Allden, plan,

Source: Historic England

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