Ancient Monuments

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Cholwich Town contour reave, cairn and two enclosures

A Scheduled Monument in Shaugh Prior, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4552 / 50°27'18"N

Longitude: -3.9848 / 3°59'5"W

OS Eastings: 259201.6675

OS Northings: 63584.2564

OS Grid: SX592635

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.7N7N

Mapcode Global: FRA 27JV.KDG

Entry Name: Cholwich Town contour reave, cairn and two enclosures

Scheduled Date: 3 December 1992

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017399

English Heritage Legacy ID: 10754

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Shaugh Prior

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


Cholwich Town Reave runs broadly along the 370m contour from Rook Watershed
Reave in the east to a point just beyond Cross Dyke in the west, a distance of
2.2km, marked at its mid-point by an enclosure with hut circles. The reave has
formerly been known as Cholwich Town Reave North and Cholwich Town Reave
South, but this scheduling treats it as one reave. The part known as Cholwich
Town Reave North extends some 1.1km to the north-west of the mid-point
enclosure, including the southern bank of that enclosure in its length, and
runs around the south side of Lee Moor. It consists of a bank of earth and
stone up to 1.75m in width and 0.6m in height, faced with orthostats at its
wider eastern end. There is a gang-junction (where two stretches of the reave
being built separately were mis-aligned and so do not meet perfectly) located
between the cairn and enclosure situated towards the western end. There are
two entrances through the reave, one near the middle and another just north-
west of the enclosure at the eastern end. The cairn is considered to pre-date
the reave which appears to have been aligned on it. The enclosure on the south
side of the reave does not have any hut circles; the enclosure at the eastern
end of this reave contains at least sixteen hut circles. The part known as
Cholwich Town Reave South runs from the mid-point enclosure to Rook Watershed
Reave, a distance of some 1.15km, in a south-easterly direction for the first
kilometre and then turning east towards Rook Reave. It consists of a bank up
to 3m in width and 0.7m in height and is thought to post-date Rook Reave.
The southern end of Cholwich Town Reave abuts Rook Watershed Reave but for
purposes of clarity and because they are different reave forms, these two
reaves have been defined as separate 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.

Elaborate complexes of fields and field boundaries are some of the major
features of the Dartmoor landscape. The reaves are part of an extensive
system of Prehistoric land division introduced during the Bronze Age, around
1700 BC. They consist of simple linear stone banks used to mark out discrete
territories, some of which are tens of kilometres in extent. The systems are
defined by parallel, contour and watershed reaves, dividing the lower land
from the grazing zones of the higher moor and defining the watersheds of
adjacent river systems. Occupation sites and funerary or ceremonial
monuments are often incorporated in, or associated with, reave complexes.
Their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide
important information on the diversity of social organisation, land divisions
and farming practices amongst Prehistoric communities. They show considerable
longevity as a monument type, sometimes surviving as fossilised examples in
medieval field plans. They are an important element in the existing landscape
and, as such, a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered
worthy of protection.

Cholwich Town contour reave forms an important element in the reave system of
south-west Dartmoor. With Willings Walls contour reave, it is considered to
have linked the Yealm and Plym systems. The reave is closely associated with
a cairn and two enclosures, one containing a stone hut circle settlement.
Cairns represent the burial places of Bronze Age communities while the
enclosures and hut circles provide an insight into the pattern and intensity
of settlement as well as the nature of the econonmy. All these features are
broadly contemporary and give an indication of the lives of Bronze Age
communities on this part of the Moor.

Source: Historic England


Devon County SMR SX56SE-025, (1990)
Devon County SMR SX56SE-076, (1990)
Devon County SMR SX56SE-224 & 225, (1990)
Devon County SMR SX56SE-278, (1990)

Source: Historic England

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