Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Latitude: 50.5273 / 50°31'38"N

Longitude: -3.8498 / 3°50'59"W

OS Eastings: 268981.49927

OS Northings: 71358.003558

OS Grid: SX689713

Mapcode National: GBR QC.86S5

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TN.XNR

Entry Name: Prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system

Scheduled Date: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020091

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22369

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Holne

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Holne St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument includes a group of coaxial fields, associated stone hut
circles and an area of historic fields situated on a spur leading northward
into the valley of the River Dart. The coaxial fields form part of the
Dartmeet coaxial field system and survive as rubble banks which in places have
been modified during the construction of later historic fields. There are
three parallel reaves within the monument, from which several other boundaries
lead, creating a number of smaller fields and enclosures. Within the field
system there are at least ten stone hut circles. The stone hut circles
survive as rubble or orthostatic walls each surrounding a circular internal
area measuring between 4m and 8.4m in diameter. The surrounding walls measure
up to 0.8m high and one hut has a visible doorway.
Two separate groups of historic fields lie within the monument. The
northern group survives as three agglomerated fields which in part have reused
some of the earlier prehistoric boundaries. The southern group includes part
of one field with the remainder lying beyond the monument. Small clearance
cairns surviving within the monument are the result of stone clearance
activities during the historic period. Another activity of historic date for
which archaeological remains survive is mineral prospecting, as several
distinctive small rectangular pits formed during the search for tin lie
scattered amongst the earlier fields.
The active leat leading through the monument and the electricity supply poles
are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is

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 prehistoric fields and settlements north east of Venford Reservoir forming
part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system survive well and form part of the
best preserved coaxial field system on Dartmoor. The Dartmeet coaxial field
system extends over 3000ha and enough of it survives to enable a full
understanding of the widespread character and impact of Bronze Age farming
techniques on the moorland landscapes.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 178
Title: Holne Moor Survey
Source Date: 1997
1:2500 plan

Source: Historic England

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