Ancient Monuments

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Two Headland Warren boundary stones, 275m and 430m north of Birch Tor

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6202 / 50°37'12"N

Longitude: -3.8569 / 3°51'24"W

OS Eastings: 268737.603

OS Northings: 81697.498

OS Grid: SX687816

Mapcode National: GBR Q9.WBZ9

Mapcode Global: FRA 27TF.F8C

Entry Name: Two Headland Warren boundary stones, 275m and 430m north of Birch Tor

Scheduled Date: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021342

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34501

County: Devon

Civil Parish: North Bovey

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: North Bovey St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes two
warren boundary stones situated on a gentle east-facing slope of Birch Tor
overlooking extensive parts of central Dartmoor.

The southern boundary stone survives as a 0.7m high granite pillar with
`WB' inscribed on the northern face. The northern stone is 0.9m high and
has `WB' inscribed on its south west face. These stones form part of a
group of at least 16 stones which denote the edges of Headland Warren.
Headland Warren covers about 246ha and includes at least 37 pillow mounds,
five vermin traps, six rectilinear enclosures and the warren house itself.
The warren was certainly in existence by 1754 and continued in use until
around 1920.

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 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.
Warrens are areas of land set aside for the breeding and management of rabbits
or hares. They usually include a series of purpose-built breeding places,
known as pillow mounds and buries, vermin traps and enclosures designed to
contain and protect the animals, and living quarters for the warrener who kept
charge of the warren.
Pillow mounds are low oblong-shaped mounds of soil and/or stones in which the
animals lived. They are usually between 15m and 40m long and between 5m and
10m wide. Most have a ditch around at least three sides to facilitate
drainage. Inside are a series of narrow interconnecting trenches. These were
excavated and covered with stone or turf before the mound was constructed.
Vermin traps of various kinds are found within most warrens. These include a
small stone-lined passage into which the predator was funnelled by a series of
ditches or walls. Over 100 vermin traps have been recorded on the Moor, with
the majority lying in the Plym Valley.
Warren boundaries were often defined by a combination of natural features such
as rivers. Within the warrens themselves smaller enclosed areas defined by a
ditch and bank are sometimes found, and some of these may have been
specialised breeding areas. Many of the warrens on the Moor contain a house in
which the warrener lived.
Most of the surviving warren earthworks probably date to between the 17th
century and the later 19th century, with some continuing in use into the early
20th century. At least 22 warrens are known to exist on the Moor and together
they contribute to our understanding of the medieval and post-medieval
exploitation of the area. All well-preserved warrens are considered worthy of

The two Headland Warren boundary stones, 275m and 430m north of Birch Tor
together with at least a further 14 form part of the best preserved group
of warren boundary stones on Dartmoor.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Brewer, D, A field guide to the boundary markers on and around Dartmoor, (1986), 55-56

Source: Historic England

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