Ancient Monuments

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Length of reave 290m north of Feather Tor, forming part of a coaxial field system on Whitchurch Common

A Scheduled Monument in Whitchurch, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5511 / 50°33'3"N

Longitude: -4.0709 / 4°4'15"W

OS Eastings: 253385.819

OS Northings: 74417.3366

OS Grid: SX533744

Mapcode National: GBR NZ.GQ5S

Mapcode Global: FRA 27CL.V60

Entry Name: Length of reave 290m north of Feather Tor, forming part of a coaxial field system on Whitchurch Common

Scheduled Date: 7 March 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020000

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22262

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Whitchurch

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes a length of reave and a short section of leat situated
on a gentle south facing slope of Barn Hill overlooking the valley of the
River Walkham. The reave forms part of a coaxial field system which extends
over much of Whitchurch Common. The reave survives as a 1.8m wide and 0.4m
high earthwork with occasional protruding orthostats. The main length of
reave stretches 400m from east to west and approximately mid-way along a
branch 90m long leads to the south. The reave is cut by a disused length of
the Grimstone and Sortridge Leat at NGR SX53477442, which at this point
measures 2.4m wide and 0.8m deep.
The present Grimstone and Sortridge Leat cuts through the eastern part of
the reave and is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath and
around it 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. 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 (c.2000-700 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.

The length of reave 290m north of Feather Tor forming part of a coaxial field
system on Whitchurch Common survives comparatively well and contains
information relating to prehistoric land division within an area containing a
rich variety of archaeological sites.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 34

Source: Historic England

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