Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Stone hut circle 570m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5583 / 50°33'29"N

Longitude: -4.0401 / 4°2'24"W

OS Eastings: 255586.472503

OS Northings: 75158.093867

OS Grid: SX555751

Mapcode National: GBR Q1.N62F

Mapcode Global: FRA 27FL.7W9

Entry Name: Stone hut circle 570m ENE of Merrivale Bridge, forming part of a partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement

Scheduled Date: 20 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014670

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24200

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a stone hut circle forming an outlying part of a large
partly enclosed stone hut circle settlement situated on the gentle west facing
slope of Over Tor overlooking the valley of the River Walkham. The building is
terraced into the hillside and is composed of a stone and earth wall
surrounding a circular internal area. The interior of the building measures
6.3m in diameter and the surrounding 1.6m wide wall stands up to 1.15m high.
The area surrounding the monument may contain further archaeological
features and deposits, but these are not included because they are not visible
and cannot therefore be accurately mapped or assessed.
Further stone hut circles and enclosures within the vicinity of this
monument are the subject of other schedulings.

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 stone hut circle 570m ENE of Merrivale Bridge survives well and together
with a rich array of nearby features forms part of a particularly important
archaeological landscape in which the three major periods of human activity on
the Moor are represented. This area is a popular visitor destination and many
of the stone hut circles within the settlement are particularly well preserved
and are regularly used for educational purposes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 73
Devon Sites and Monuments Register, SX57NE-036, (1985)
Gibson, A, Single Monument Class Description - Stone Hut Circles, (1987)
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1994)

Source: Historic England

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