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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 440882

Hob Uid: 440882
Location :
Devon
West Devon
Okehampton Hamlets
Grid Ref : SX5890090700
Summary : A double stone row thought to be of prehistoric date comprises 35 surviving stones, of which 7 are recumbent. The original arrangment may have inlcuded 64 stones. They now stand at a distance of 9m between rows as slabs set on edge and in line averaging 0.15m thick, 0.5m long and 0.4m high.A sinuous double row of set stones lies across the summit area of a moorland ridge. Its origins and function are obscure but it may be associated with military activity, possibly a trackway.
More information : Between SX 58789077 and SX 59019069, south of West Mill
Tor, a double row of stones, found during field investigation,
extends for 250 m down the east side of the hill.

The distance between the rows averages 9.0 m with a variation
up to 0.5 m, and the common distance between stones is 9.0 m
though some are as close as 5.0 m. The majority of the stones
are slabs set on edge and in line, averaging 0.15 m thick, 0.5 m
long and 0.4 m high. Most are trigged and about half have
chisel-ended tops, though these seem natural rather than worked.

There are numerous gaps where stones have been removed and of at
least 64 stones in the rows only 35 survive, including 7 that are
recumbent. A number of small stones protrude from the surface
near the rows (but not between them) and often on line in the
interspaces between the slabs. These have not been surveyed on the
plan (see illustration) since they are unlike the main group and,
apart from the necessity for selection, they appear to be natural
'grounders'.

While the stones are similar to those in other Dartmoor rows the plan
is so unusual as to provoke thoughts of a prehistoric attribution. The 25 m vertical descent of the hillside is made with two near right angle curves and visibility is limited to about 80 m at any one time.
The rows are not oriented upon any particular object or point, though
the original extent could have been beyond the present terminals. It
is also curious that the rows have not been noted in the past. If they were meant to demarcate a track the curves would alleviate the
gradient but the choice of route seems pointless, the width excessive, and it is unlikely that the relatively small slabs would be set with packing stones. Above all there is no evidence of ruts or hollowing as would be expected with use as a trackway. Thus, until some evidence can be produced to the contrary, the rows have more affinities to the prehistoric than any later period.

Surveyed at 1:10 000 on MSD and at 1:1 000. (1)

See, see ground photographs.

A double line of set stones and slabs follows a sinuous course across the summit area and down the __ facing slope of a moorland ridge between SX58789078 and SX 59039073. A total of 73 stones were identified during the resurvey of this curvilinear feature in 2004 - although soem of the stones, now buried in the heather, may be natural earthfast boulders or stones. 18 stones or slabs are upright - they are on average 1.1m long and 0.5m wide and 5 stones or slabs are leaning.
There are numerous mortar-shell holes int he area and, nearby a circular level platform at SX 58879073
(SX 59 SE 21)

The original and function of this impressive, though slight feature are obscure. However they are indications on the ground that this alignment may have extended further to the north and may therefore be part of an extensive track or boundary work. As such it may have a military rahter than a prehistoric origin because as Quinnell conceded it would be a most unusual stone row. An example of a military metalled road lined by small upright slabs is the track to Hangingstone Hill (SX 61328693) (2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 NVQ 04-SEP-79
Page(s) :
Figs. :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : Fletcher M.J. 29 May 2004 English Heritage Field Investigation
Page(s) :
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Monument Types:
Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Devonshire)
External Cross Reference Number : SX59SE61
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SX 59 SE 20
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SX 59 SE 20
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1979-09-04
End Date : 1979-09-04
Associated Activities : Primary, NORTH DARTMOOR MILITARY RANGE ENGLISH HERITAGE PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2003-10-14
End Date : 2004-07-31