Ancient Monuments

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'V'-shaped gully 350m east of Trowlesworthy Warren House

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4661 / 50°27'57"N

Longitude: -4.0147 / 4°0'52"W

OS Eastings: 257109.962775

OS Northings: 64857.325277

OS Grid: SX571648

Mapcode National: GBR Q3.10KZ

Mapcode Global: FRA 27GT.RR3

Entry Name: 'V'-shaped gully 350m east of Trowlesworthy Warren House

Scheduled Date: 3 July 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014474

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22360

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a `V'-shaped gully forming part of a complex multi-
period archaeological landscape on the north western slope of the
Trowlesworthy Tors overlooking the valley of the Blacka Brook. The northern
arm of this `V'-shaped gully measures 12m long, 0.9m wide by 0.3m deep and the
bank of material thrown up during its construction lies downslope and measures
1m wide and up to 0.15m high. The southern arm measures 17m long, 0.9m wide
and 0.3m deep and the associated bank measures 1.3m wide and 0.15m high.
Gullies such as this are generally considered to be drains, although their
location on steep well drained slopes suggests that some at least may have
served as animal runs leading to vermin traps or snares. Vermin approaching
their quarry tend to seek a route that provides visual cover and gullies such
as this could have been excavated to control their movement.
Further archaeological features within the vicinity of this monument are
the subjects of other schedulings.
This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

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 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.
Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits
or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places,
known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to
contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept
charge of the warren.
Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the
animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and
10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate
drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were
excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed.
Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a
small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of
ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with
the majority lying in the Plym Valley.
Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such
as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a
ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been
specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in
which the warrener lived.
Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th
century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early
20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together
they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval
exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of

The `V'-shaped gully is a feature which has been identified only within the
Upper Plym valley. They are always associated with warrens and therefore may
be considered as a distinctive component of the warrens in this part of the
Moor. They are generally accepted as being drains excavated to carry surface
water around a small area which would therefore be drier and more suitable for
habitation by rabbits. They may, however, also have been built as animal runs
leading to vermin traps. Either way, these gullies will contain information
relating to the exploitation and management of the warrens within the Upper
Plym valley and as such are considered worthy of protection.
The `V'-shaped gully 350m east of Trowlesworthy Warren House survives well and
forms part of a group lying on the western slopes of the Trowlesworthy Tors.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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