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Part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system and other archaeological remains on Holne Moor west and north west of Venford Reservoir

A Scheduled Monument in Holne, Devon

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.5273 / 50°31'38"N

Longitude: -3.8689 / 3°52'7"W

OS Eastings: 267629.334379

OS Northings: 71391.018383

OS Grid: SX676713

Mapcode National: GBR QB.27WG

Mapcode Global: FRA 27SN.W03

Entry Name: Part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system and other archaeological remains on Holne Moor west and north west of Venford Reservoir

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1955

Last Amended: 18 September 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020487

English Heritage Legacy ID: 22368

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

Details

The monument, which falls into four seperate areas of protection, includes a
group of coaxial fields, associated stone hut circles and enclosures, a stone
alignment, several cairns, areas of historic fields, a medieval farmstead with
ancillary buildings, clearance cairns, tinwork earthworks, shelters, leats,
clapper bridges, pillow mounds, hollow ways, military slit trenches and stone
splitting pits, all situated on Holne Moor.
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 at least 27 parallel reaves
within the monument, from which large numbers of other boundaries lead
creating a number of smaller fields and enclosures. The parallel reaves are
aligned roughly north east to south west and many abut the terminal reave
which denotes the southern edge of the field system. Within the field system
there are at least 58 stone hut circles, many of which are clustered together
to form settlements. The stone hut circles survive as rubble or orthostatic
walls each surrounding a circular or oval internal area which varies in
diameter from 2.2m to 9.7m. Archaeological excavation during the 1970s
suggested a Bronze Age date for the stone hut circles and also revealed at
least three timber houses of similar date.
Six cairns situated within the monument are also likely to be of Bronze
Age date and these survive as mounds measuring between 3.6m and 18m in
diameter and standing between 0.2m and 0.9m high. One of the cairns contains
a cist denoted by four edge set slabs. Beyond the southern edge of the
coaxial field system is a stone alignment. This survives as three parallel
rows of upright stones measuring 147.5m long. The western end is denoted by
three edge set blocking stones and two large recumbent stones, which when
standing would have been up to 3m tall. This alignment, which lies immediately
outside the field system, would appear to have been deliberately excluded,
suggesting that it was already present and perhaps being used when the fields
were constructed.
Archaeological remains of historic date are abundant within the coaxial
field system. In particular, a medieval farmstead together with an extensive
field system occupies much of the eastern part of the monument. The historic
fields are mostly denoted by ditched boundary banks and in places have reused
earlier prehistoric walls. In at least two separate locations the fields have
been further subdivided into strips denoted by low rubble walls. Leading
through the monument in several places are hollow ways which survive as sharp
sided, flat bottomed gulleys. Evidence for rabbit farming takes the form of
several rectangular mounds which have been identified as pillow mounds. A
small number of shelters, many of them built into earlier stone hut circles,
illustrate a pastoral interest in the area.
Another activity of historic date for which abundant archaeological remains
survive is mineral prospecting and extraction. In several places, clusters of
small rectangular pits together with narrow trenches formed during the search
for tin are visible. The deposits and lodes encountered were exploited using
either streamworks, opencast quarries called openworks or by lode back pits.
Several lengths of leat survive within the monument. The shorter examples
generally lead to the various tinworks, but two long distance leats pass
through the monument. The northern leat is known as the Holne Moor Leat or
Hamlyn's Leat and was cut in the early part of the 19th century to supply
water for textile mills in Buckfastleigh. Where it survives as an earthwork it
forms part of this scheduling. The southern leat is known as the Wheal Emma
Leat and was constructed in 1859 to carry water from the upper Swincombe River
to supplement the River Mardle. The additional water was required by the Wheal
Emma copper mine near Buckfastleigh. Within the monument the leat survives as
a steep sided channel crossed at several points by clapper bridges.
The Holne Moor Leat or Hamlyn's Leat, where it remains in use, leading through
the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath the
associated bank, where it survives, is included. The metal fence denoting the
edge of the Venford Reservoir forestry plantation and a series of boundary
stones are also excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath
them is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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 part of the Dartmeet coaxial field system and other archaeological remains
on Holne Moor, west and north west of Venford Reservoir survive extremely well
and form the best preserved part of a 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.
The survival of a range of broadly contemporary funerary and ritual monuments
provides further evidence for the use of this area as does the later historic
field system which overlies many of the earlier coaxial fields. These fields
provide additional contrasting information concerning the character of
historic farming activity and this together with the considerable evidence for
prospecting and mining represents an important source of archaeological data.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988), 77
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988), 72
Fleming, A, The Dartmoor Reaves, (1988), 87
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 180
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 190
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 193
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 181
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 181
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 182
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 183
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 185
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 185
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 185
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 187
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 187
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 186
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 188
Butler, J, 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities - The North' in Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, , Vol. 4, (1993), 128
Fleming, A, Ralph, N, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Settlement And Land Use On Holne Moor, Dartmoor, , Vol. 26, (1982), 108
Fleming, A, Ralph, N, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Settlement And Land Use On Holne Moor, Dartmoor, , Vol. 26, (1982), 110
Fleming, A, Ralph, N, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Settlement And Land Use On Holne Moor, Dartmoor, , Vol. 26, (1982), 119
Fleming, A, Ralph, N, 'Medieval Archaeology' in Medieval Settlement And Land Use On Holne Moor, Dartmoor, , Vol. 26, (1982), 123
Other
MPP fieldwork by S. Gerrard, Gerrard, S., (2000)

Source: Historic England

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