Ancient Monuments

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Two cairns on the summit of Water Hill 450m north west of Warren House Inn

A Scheduled Monument in Dartmoor Forest, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6162 / 50°36'58"N

Longitude: -3.8791 / 3°52'44"W

OS Eastings: 267153.471672

OS Northings: 81298.962666

OS Grid: SX671812

Mapcode National: GBR Q8.PK8P

Mapcode Global: FRA 27RF.YBK

Entry Name: Two cairns on the summit of Water Hill 450m north west of Warren House Inn

Scheduled Date: 9 February 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019225

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28745

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Dartmoor Forest

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Chagford St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes two round cairns aligned NNW-SSE and an historic shelter
situated on the summit of Water Hill overlooking much of central Dartmoor. The
southern flat-topped cairn measures 18m in diameter, stands up to 1.5m high
and is surmounted by a 1.3m high modern stone pile. A large slab on the
southern side of this pile may have originally been part of a cist. A slight
rim around the summit of the mound may represent a buried kerb or the result
of later interference. A 3m wide band of rushes adjacent to the north eastern
side of the mound may indicate the presence of a ditch, which originally
surrounded the cairn, and from which material was quarried during the
construction of the mound.
The northern mound lies 6.4m from the other cairn, stands up to 0.7m high
and is 5.5m in diameter.
The historic shelter is built into the north eastern side of the large
southern cairn and survives as a 2m long by 1.6m wide rectangular three sided
structure faced by drystone walling standing up to 0.45m 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 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. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary
monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as
earthen or rubble mounds, the latter predominating in areas of upland Britain
where such raw materials were locally available in abundance. Round cairns may
cover single or multiple burials and are sometimes surrounded by an outer
ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, they are a major visual element in
the modern landscape. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and
social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are
particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of
surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Dartmoor provides one
of the best preserved and most dense concentrations of round cairns in south-
western Britain.

Despite some damage as a result of interference to one of the mounds, the two
cairns on the summit of Water Hill 450m north west of Warren House Inn survive
comparatively well and contain both environmental and archaeological
information about the construction and use of the mounds and the landscape in
which they were built. The larger of the mounds is visually impressive and
forms a notable and frequently visited landmark within this part of Devon.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1991), 36
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The Second Millennium B.C.' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 5, (1997), 156
Devon County Sites and Monuments Register, SX68SE91, (1995)

Source: Historic England

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