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HER Number:MDV105981
Name:Ridge and Furrow on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead


Extensive area of ridge and furrow visible on LiDAR, on south-west side of Mardon Down; likely to be re-use of previous Prehistoric field system in the area. Area of south-west by north-east aligned cultivation ridges, dated as Medieval were included in the 2017 survey of the stone circle on the south of Mardon Down.


Grid Reference:SX 769 872
Map Sheet:SX78NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX78NE20
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 445399

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Constructed, Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1539 AD (Between))
  • RIDGE AND FURROW (Constructed, Medieval - 1066 AD (Between) to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977/1981, SX78NE20 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV296054.

(24/12/1981) [The Prehistoric field system is discussed in record MDV8332].
This is thought to represent a pre-historic field system with later utilization. On the slopes their construction is better preserved, with less vegetation, and the enclosed areas show evidence of Medieval or later ploughing.
The banks are up to 0.8m. high and 1.4m. wide with double faced orthostatic walling (though rebuilding may have enhanced the size). A later rubble bank some 0.8m. wide and 0.7m. high encloses most of the eastern half of the common and contains the majority of the rig and furrow. It also cuts through the stone circle (SX 78 NE 19) and earlier field banks.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Environment Agency, 2011, LIDAR data JPEG images (2 metre resolution) (Cartographic). SDV348634.

Extensive area of ridge and furrow visible on the south-western side of the common covering at least between the lane south of Headless Cross and the cairns and stone circle south from Giants Grave. Former field boundaries are also visible towards the southern end which may be the remains of prehistoric reaves. Map object based on this source.

Newman, P., 2017, A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon, 5, 7 fig 4, 12, 13, 16 (Report - Survey). SDV360188.

Cultivation ridges cut across the stone circle in a south-west by north-east alignment.
Although within the circumference of the circle the ridges have become more flattened, the bases of several parallel furrows remain visible. The ridges are clearer on the eastern exterior, including a substantial baulk. It may be that some of the stones on the eastern and western arc of the circle were removed to make way for the cultivation, although the survival of others runs counter to that idea. The former cultivated areas on Mardon Down are yet to be accurately surveyed but their character, as visible on 1m LiDAR images, is similar to areas of ridge and furrow elsewhere on Dartmoor, including Holne Moor and Okehampton Park. This includes the presence of baulks placed at intervals and following the same axis as the ridge and furrow, and probably representing the division between strips. The examples at Okehampton Park are associated with farms abandoned by 1450 AD (Allan 1994, 145; Newman 2011, 124), so a medieval date for the examples on Mardon Down is also possible.
On the south side of the cairn (MDV8310), almost touching it, is another linear earthwork, but on a different alignment. It measures 3 metres wide and is certainly one of the medieval or later ridge and furrow earthworks, which cover much of the eastern flank of Mardon Down.
Recorded at 1:200 scale. Map object based on this source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV296054Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977/1981. SX78NE20. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV348634Cartographic: Environment Agency. 2011. LIDAR data JPEG images (2 metre resolution). Digital.
SDV360188Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2017. A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon. Southwest Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. 5, 7 fig 4, 12, 13, 16.

Associated Monuments

MDV8310Related to: Cairn 15 metre south of Giant's Grave, Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV122149Related to: Field boundaries north of Stacombe, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV8337Related to: Field system on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV26657Related to: Field System on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead (Monument)
MDV8332Related to: Parallel Reave System on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead. (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7270 - Survey of cairn cemetery, stone circle and other earthworks on Mardon Down

Date Last Edited:Jun 29 2022 9:43AM