Ancient Monuments

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Three Headland Warren boundary stones, 350m, 330m and 400m south east of Headland Warren Farm

A Scheduled Monument in North Bovey, Devon

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Latitude: 50.6127 / 50°36'45"N

Longitude: -3.8435 / 3°50'36"W

OS Eastings: 269662.2738

OS Northings: 80841.099

OS Grid: SX696808

Mapcode National: GBR QC.2VSL

Mapcode Global: FRA 27VG.0FQ

Entry Name: Three Headland Warren boundary stones, 350m, 330m and 400m south east of Headland Warren Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 June 2004

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1021345

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34504

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 three areas of protection, includes three
warren boundary stones situated on a south west-facing slope of Hookney
Tor overlooking the valley of the West Webburn River. The northern
boundary stone survives as a 1.12m high granite pillar with two
inscriptions on its eastern face. The upper one reads`B', referring to
North Bovey parish, and the lower one `WB' relating to the warren bounds.
The middle boundary stone is 0.88m high and is inscribed on its north
eastern face with three separate groups of letters. At the top are the
letters `AP', whilst below these are `WB' and below them `WN'. The top and
bottom inscriptions may refer to an individual warrener, whilst the
central `WB' inscription refers to the warren bounds. The southern
boundary stone is 0.9m high and is inscribed with the letters `WB' on its
eastern 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 three Headland Warren boundary stones, 350m, 330m and 400m south east
of Headland Warren Farm, together with at least a further 13, 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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