Ancient Monuments

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Pillow mound 730m north east of Hen Tor forming part of Hentor Warren

A Scheduled Monument in Sheepstor, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4767 / 50°28'36"N

Longitude: -3.9798 / 3°58'47"W

OS Eastings: 259618.692252

OS Northings: 65974.735194

OS Grid: SX596659

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.6HHG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27KS.MCZ

Entry Name: Pillow mound 730m north east of Hen Tor forming part of Hentor Warren

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015741

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24219

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Sheepstor

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


This monument includes a pillow mound lying close to the Shavercombe Brook and
situated on a gentle north west facing slope overlooking the valley of the
River Plym.
This mound forms part of Hentor Warren, which includes around 50 pillow mounds
and 10 vermin traps scattered along the hillside between Spanish Lake and
Shavercombe Brook. Hentor Warren, which covers an area of approximately 180ha
was established by at least 1807, when a lease was granted by Lord Boringdon
to Peter Nicholls of Sheepstor, a warrener. The warren is denoted by the River
Plym along its north western side and by a series of five boundary stones (of
which only three survive), leading from Spanish Lake via Shavercombe Head to
Colesmills. Hentor Farm is considered to have been used as the warren house.
Sometime shortly after 1815 the warren was taken over by and worked from
nearby Ditsworthy, and continued in use until the 1930s.
This pillow mound survives as a 69.3m long, 6.3m wide and 1m high, flat-
topped, rectangular shaped mound of soil and stone surrounded by the 4m wide
and 0.5m deep ditch from which material was quarried during its construction.
A 0.8m wide and 0.3m deep ditch lying parallel to the north eastern side of
the mound may represent an animal run in which vermin and rabbits were
trapped. 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.
Two lengths of rubble bank lying west and south east of the mound are not
included in the scheduling because they are not currently considered to be
of national importance.
This monument is in the care of the Secretary of State.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 pillow mound 730m north east of Hen Tor forms part of the nationally
important Hentor Warren and contains information relating to the exploitation
of rabbits in the Upper Plym valley. This mound is the only one within the
warren which lies north of the Shavercombe Brook. This valley contains the
densest concentration of pillow mounds and other structures associated with
rabbit farming on the Moor.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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