Ancient Monuments

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One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Ugborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4124 / 50°24'44"N

Longitude: -3.8941 / 3°53'38"W

OS Eastings: 265514.65837

OS Northings: 58658.302421

OS Grid: SX655586

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.3FFP

Mapcode Global: FRA 27QY.YHP

Entry Name: One of a group of four cairns on Butterdon Hill

Scheduled Date: 25 February 1953

Last Amended: 10 October 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017394

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10601

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Ugborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Many examples of Prehistoric funerary monuments are preserved on Dartmoor,
mostly dating to the Bronze Age (c.2500-500BC). To celebrate or commemorate
the dead, mounds of earth or stone were piled in roughly hemispherical shape
over the burial, which was sometimes contained in a small rectangular
structure, or cist, made of stone slabs. Some monuments also include
kerbstones marking the outer edge of the mound and surrounding ditch. The
four cairns on Butterdon Hill are similarly constructed with a mound of stones
built upon a stone, earth and turf base, the circumference of which projects
beyond the stones. They range in diameter from 15m to 28m and in height from
1m to 3m and are part of a series of large stone cairns along the ridge
between Butterdon Hill and Weatherdon Hill.
This cairn, on the summit of Butterdon Hill, consists of a mound of stone,
earth and turf base, possibly with a berm and ditch. It is 25m in diameter
and approximately 2.5m high.

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.
These four large cairns are well preserved examples and occupy prominent
positions on the brow of Butterdon Hill, forming part of a series of large,
probably high status, cairns of similar construction on hilltops along the
eastern side of the Erme Valley. The group of cairns on this hill suggests
that it was of particular importance as a focal point for the local community.
The relationship of this group with other cairns indicates the wealth of
evidence relating to the ritual side of Prehistoric life on this part of the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
'Proc Devon Arch Soc' in Dartmoor Barrows, , Vol. 36, (1978)
SX 65 NE 024,

Source: Historic England

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