Ancient Monuments

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Four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall

A Scheduled Monument in Chagford, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6408 / 50°38'26"N

Longitude: -3.8809 / 3°52'51"W

OS Eastings: 267095.249

OS Northings: 84035.7965

OS Grid: SX670840

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.N4S5

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RC.XJ3

Entry Name: Four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall

Scheduled Date: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019214

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28752

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Chagford

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chagford St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four
substantial stone hut circles and associated boundary walls situated on a
gentle north west facing slope overlooking Fernworthy Reservoir. The stone hut
circles survive as circular walls each surrounding an internal area which
varies from 45 sq m to 57 sq m.
The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 1.1m and 1.8m. Two of the
huts have visible doorways and one has a porch. The northernmost hut is
attached to parallel walls leading downslope from the building. This feature
would have acted as a passageway allowing unhindered access to lower parts of
the valley. From the hut at NGR SX 67078403 an orthostatic wall with rubble
infill measuring 1.8m wide by 0.6m high, leads east for over 50m. The two
northernmost huts were excavated between 1934 and 1936 by Worth. In the
northern hut he found that the floor had been previously disturbed and
artefacts were limited to a few flint flakes. In the second excavated hut a
flint spear head, a hammer stone and a few sherds of Bronze Age pottery were
A 1.5m wide, gravel covered path known as Potter's Way cuts through part
of the monument. The surface of this path is excluded from the scheduling, but
the ground below is included.

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 four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of
Fernworthy Reservoir, 250m north west of Metherall are amongst the most
visually impressive on Dartmoor. With walls standing up to 1.8m high
the true scale and impressive character of Bronze Age domestic architecture
can be easily appreciated.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 155
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, (1999)

Source: Historic England

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