Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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An enclosure and stone hut circle 270m ENE of Plym Steps

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4889 / 50°29'20"N

Longitude: -3.9674 / 3°58'2"W

OS Eastings: 260534.750862

OS Northings: 67306.702664

OS Grid: SX605673

Mapcode National: GBR Q5.CLP3

Mapcode Global: FRA 27LR.S6M

Entry Name: An enclosure and stone hut circle 270m ENE of Plym Steps

Scheduled Date: 18 March 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014478

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24079

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes an enclosure and stone hut circle situated on a steep
west facing slope on Little Gnats' Head overlooking the valley of the River
Plym. The enclosure survives as a 2.5m wide and 0.5m high partly lynchetted
rubble bank leading in an arc from a stone hut circle. The eastern side of
the enclosure survives as a buried feature beneath deep peat deposits and
therefore the dimensions of the internal area could not be established. The
enclosure wall is attached to a stone hut circle which appears to predate the
enclosure. The stone hut circle is composed of a 1.6m wide and 0.4m high stone
and earth bank surrounding a 6m diameter internal area.
Other features are not currently being proposed for scheduling because they
cannot be accurately assessed or mapped.

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 hut circles and hut settlements
were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date
from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building
tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low
walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch
roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups
and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although
they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other
monument types provide important information on the diversity of social
organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The enclosure and stone hut circle 270m ENE of Plym Steps survive
comparatively well within an area containing deep peat deposits, which contain
further archaeological and environmental information relating to the
exploitation of this hillside during the Bronze Age. The relative steepness
of the slope on which the settlement is situated is an unusual feature. This
type of settlement, situated on the edge of the vast areas of upland grazing,
may contain information relating to the exploitation of this important
resource during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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