Ancient Monuments

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An enclosed prehistoric settlement 230m east of Higher Tor

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7083 / 50°42'29"N

Longitude: -3.9627 / 3°57'45"W

OS Eastings: 261513.917231

OS Northings: 91690.464063

OS Grid: SX615916

Mapcode National: GBR Q4.XMX8

Mapcode Global: FRA 27L6.N02

Entry Name: An enclosed prehistoric settlement 230m east of Higher Tor

Scheduled Date: 24 July 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017987

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28675

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Belstone St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes an agglomerated enclosure containing six stone hut
circles and a post-medieval shelter situated on a south east facing slope of
Higher Tor overlooking the valley of the River Taw. The agglomerated enclosure
includes two enclosed areas, each defined by rubble bank and orthostatic
walling. The western enclosure is earliest, has a clearly defined entrance,
contains three free standing hut circles and two others are butted by the
enclosure wall. The eastern enclosure, is smaller and its wall butts the
sixth hut.
The stone hut circles within the settlement all survive as banks each
surrounding an internal circular area which varies from 7 to 12.56 square
metres with the average being 9.69 square metres. The height of
the surrounding walls vary between 0.3m and 0.5m, with the average being
0.42m. One of the huts has a visible doorway and all of them are of either
single orthostatic or rubble bank construction.

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 enclosed prehistoric settlement 230m east of Higher Tor survives well and
contains archaeological structures, features and deposits relating to
prehistoric exploitation of this area. The settlement overlooks the large
valley basin formed by the River Taw and the substantial broadly contemporary
settlement complex on the lower slopes of Cosdon Hill.

Source: Historic England


MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1997)

Source: Historic England

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