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A warren, two stone hut circle settlements, cairnfields and cairns at Ivy Tor, ESE of Belstone

A Scheduled Monument in Belstone, Devon

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Latitude: 50.7252 / 50°43'30"N

Longitude: -3.9407 / 3°56'26"W

OS Eastings: 263115.0493

OS Northings: 93530.3206

OS Grid: SX631935

Mapcode National: GBR Q6.2MHS

Mapcode Global: FRA 27M5.BKY

Entry Name: A warren, two stone hut circle settlements, cairnfields and cairns at Ivy Tor, ESE of Belstone

Scheduled Date: 7 June 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018925

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28727

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Belstone

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: South Tawton St Andrew

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into 15 areas of protection, includes a rabbit
warren, an area of ridge and furrow, two stone hut circle settlements, two
cairnfields and further cairns situated on a north facing lower slope of
Cosdon Hill overlooking Belstone Cleave. The rabbit warren includes at least
21 pillow mounds scattered over the side of the hill. A small rectangular
building situated within the eastern part of the warren may represent a
shelter used by warreners. The warren is known as Skaigh Warren although the
Ordnance Survey depict this further to the east where no pillow mounds are
known. The eastern part of the monument also includes narrow ridge and furrow
over much of the area, which appears to predate the pillow mounds.
The two prehistoric settlements include stone hut circles associated with
rubble boundary banks. The eastern settlement is centred at NGR SX63109351
and includes at least seven stone hut circles which survive as circular or
oval walls each surrounding an internal area varying between 14 sq m and
95 sq m, with the average being 44 sq m. The heights of the surrounding walls
vary between 0.5m and 1.4m, with the average being 0.73m. Two of the huts are
butted by boundary walling, two are joined to each other and another two share
an annex or courtyard. Most of the huts survive as earthworks although some
have occasional protruding orthostats and rubble. A cairnfield including at
least 28 mounds survives within the vicinity of the settlement and may be
contemporary with it, although some of the cairns may belong with the
clearance activity associated with laying out the historic ridge and furrow
field. The mounds within this cairnfield are circular or oval in shape. The
circular mounds vary between 3.9m and 7.3m in diameter, whilst the length of
the oval ones varies between 5m and 10m. The heights of all the mounds vary
between 0.5m and 1.4m, with the average being 0.95m.
The western settlement is centred at NGR SX62609303 and includes at least six
stone hut circles together with enclosures, lengths of rubble walling and a
cairnfield. The stone hut circles survive as circular or oval walls each
surrounding an internal area measuring between 13 sq m and 94 sq m, with the
average being 36 sq m. Only one of the huts is butted by boundary walling,
and another one has a visible doorway. A number of lengths of rubble walling
survive within the settlement and these, together with a number of cairns
indicate clearance of the surrounding ground. Some of the cairns in the
vicinity of this settlement may be funerary in origin, with at least one
possessing a kerb and another having a surrounding platform.
A solitary cairn at NGR SX62479315 surviving as a small 3.8m diameter mound
surrounded by at least two outer banks may represent a ring cairn.

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 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

Within the area denoted by the warren known as Skaigh Warren, ESE of Belstone
there is considerable evidence of earlier activity. Amongst these features are
two prehistoric settlements complete with contemporary boundary walling and
cairnfields. Some of the cairns have additional structural features and may be
considered as funerary in character. Some of the huts within the settlements
are much larger than those normally associated with settlements on this side
of the Moor. Taken together, the archaeology surviving within this monument
provides an important insight into the many different uses made of this area
over a considerable period of time.

Source: Historic England


MPP Fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (1998)

Source: Historic England

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