Ancient Monuments

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Prehistoric enclosures on Dewerstone Hill, 500m south east of Dewerstone Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in Bickleigh, Devon

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Latitude: 50.4575 / 50°27'26"N

Longitude: -4.06 / 4°3'36"W

OS Eastings: 253866.406825

OS Northings: 63989.127788

OS Grid: SX538639

Mapcode National: GBR Q0.NLYV

Mapcode Global: FRA 27DV.63R

Entry Name: Prehistoric enclosures on Dewerstone Hill, 500m south east of Dewerstone Cottage

Scheduled Date: 3 February 1953

Last Amended: 11 February 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020241

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34436

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Bickleigh

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon


The monument includes two enclosures and associated stone hut circles situated
on the summit of a steep sided promontory overlooking the confluence of the
rivers Meavy and Plym. The interior of the largest enclosure measures 220m
long by 170m wide and is denoted by two parallel rubble walls separating the
promontory from its surroundings. These walls consist largely of loose rubble,
measure 4m wide and stand up to 0.7m high. The gap between the two walls is
around 1m, although this was probably originally greater. A gap cutting
through the walls represents the site of an original stone faced entrance
passage, which now measures 12m long by 2m wide. There are no traces of
walling adjacent to the steep slopes around the southern part of the monument.
It is considered that this structure represents the site of a Neolithic
hilltop enclosure.
The smaller rectangular enclosure lies within the earlier Neolithic one and
survives as a 75m long by 55m wide area denoted by a partly lyncheted rubble
bank standing up to 1.3m high. The enclosure wall is attached to an earlier
stone hut circle which survives as a 0.8m high rubble bank surrounding a
circular internal area measuring 9.4m in diameter. Attached to the eastern
side of this hut is a small annex denoted by a 0.8m wide and 0.3m high
earthwork. The second stone hut circle is butted to the inside edge of the
Neolithic enclosure and survives as a 5m long by 4m wide oval shaped area
surrounded by rubble. The smaller enclosure and two stone hut circles are
considered to be of Bronze Age date.

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. Within the landscape of Dartmoor
there are many discrete plots of land enclosed by stone walls or banks of
stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC), though
earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or
as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes subdivided to
accommodate stock and hut circle dwellings for farmers and herdsmen. The size
and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably depending on their
particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to
other monument classes 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 prehistoric enclosures on Dewerstone Hill, 500m south east of
Dewerstone Cottage survive well and will contain information relating to the
use of this strategic location throughout later prehistory. The larger
enclosure is considered to be of Neolithic date and very few examples of this
type of site are thought to survive in South West England. The smaller
enclosure and associated stone hut circles survive well as examples of those
typically found on Dartmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Butler, J, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, (1994), 98

Source: Historic England

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