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HER Number:MDV107002
Name:East Lowton Hut Circle Settlement


Partially enclosed hut circle settlement comprising four hut circles and the remains of an enclosure located some 780 metres south-west of Metherall. One of the stone hut circles is particularly well preserved.


Grid Reference:SX 665 836
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE44
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443840
  • Old SAM County Ref: 610
  • Old SAM Ref Revised: 28678

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1952-1978, SX68SE44A (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV277863.

The southern circle (SX 66578364) is a cairn circle with retaining kerb. To the north of it is a hut circle. (Now grouped with two other hut circles further north) (Worth, R. H., 07/12/1948).

Ordnance Survey, 1963-1996, 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric, (1963) (Cartographic). SDV350058.

(Centred at SX 66588368) Hut Circles (NR) (Three) Cairn Circle (NR).

Turner, J. R., 1976, Ancient Monuments on Forestry Commission Land. Fernworthy and Bellever (Report - non-specific). SDV351823.

East Lowton hut circles etc.
1. SX 66588373. Reported 1965; collection of large stones; indeterminate.
2. SX 66588371. A ring cairn 10.1m diameter with an inner kerb 0.5m high and large boulders up to 1.4m high. Could have been reused as a hut because an entrance porch stone is on the east side.
Comparable to the kerb circle at Metherel.
3. SX 66588366. A single walled hut circle, 5.3m diameter.
4. SX 66578364. Hut circle, 9.0m diameter, with a single wall of large stones up to 1.2m high.
Damaged on east side where one entrance stone remains.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, Map 35 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Four hut circles depicted and described by Butler.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1993-1998, Dartmoor Royal Forest Project, S. Probert (Report - Survey). SDV346608.

(03/06/1995) Centred SX 66588369. Four hut circles lie in two clearings adjacent to a forestry commission track within a dense coniferous plantation 400m W of Metherall Gate. The huts (tabulated below), in varying states of preservation, range from 4.2m to 9.6m in internal diameter and are all massively constructed of large granite slabs and blocks. All the huts have been terraced into the slope and entrances, where discernible, are in the E quadrant.
There is no evidence to suggest that any of these features are or were ring cairns as suggested by previous authorities.
A sub-circular enclosure (SX 68 SE 89) and traces of an associated field system lie 65m to the W on these huts on the opposite side of the forestry track.
SX 66588373 Hut measures 7.9m in diameter, with walls 1.2m wide, 1.0m high. Disturbed. Few stones remaining.
SX 66588371 Hut measures 9.6m in diameter, with walls 1.0m wide, 1.5m high. Entrance on east. Double orthostatic wall.
SX 66598366 Hut measures 4.2m in diameter, with walls 0.6m wide, 0.9m high. Disturbed. Slightly ovoid.
SX 66578364 Hut measures 5.9m in diameter, with walls 1.0m wide, 1.3m high. Entrance on east. Disturbed on south-east.

Newman, P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon, 29, Fig. 24 (Report - Survey). SDV351784.

Four hut circles with an enclosure on the eastern slope of the Lowton valley. One of the hut circles is attached to the enclosure, the others are outside. A forest track has bisected the settlement destroying some of the evidence including the association between the huts which are all on the eastern side of the track and the upstanding remains of the enclosure which are on the west side.

Ordnance Survey, 2014, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV355681.

Hut circles shown.

English Heritage, 2014, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV355683.

Partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement 780m south west of Metherall.
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. Stone hut circles and hut settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers on Dartmoor. They mostly date from the Bronze Age, with the earliest examples on the Moor in this building tradition dating to about 1700 BC. The stone-based round houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; remains of the turf or thatch roof are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth and stone. Although they are common on the Moor, their longevity and their relationship with other monument types provide important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.
Despite afforestation, the partially enclosed stone hut circle settlement 780m south west of Metherall survives well and contains archaeological structures, features and deposits relating to later prehistoric settlement in the area of the moor. One of the stone hut circles is particularly well preserved and forms an obvious visual amenity in this part of the forest.
The monument includes an enclosure and four stone hut circles situated on a north facing slope overlooking Fernworthy Reservoir. The enclosure includes an area measuring up to 120m long north east to south west by 60m wide, defined by a 1.8m wide and 0.7m high orthostatic and rubble bank which is double faced in places. A second length of walling leads off from the south eastern side of the main enclosure. The stone hut circles within the settlement all survive as banks each surrounding an internal circular area which varies from 16.6 to 73.86 square metres with the average being 42.76 square metres. The height of the surrounding walls vary between 0.65 and 1.45m, with the average being 1.1m. Two of the huts have visible doorways, one has a bench, all of them are of orthostatic construction and one has a length of boundary wall leading from it. The surface of the forestry track leading through the monument is excluded, although the ground beneath is included.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. Map 35.
SDV277863Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1952-1978. SX68SE44A. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Photocopy.
SDV346608Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1993-1998. Dartmoor Royal Forest Project. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown. S. Probert.
SDV350058Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1963-1996. 1963-1996 National Grid OS Metric. Digital Mapping. Digital. (1963).
SDV351784Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Southwest Landscape Investigations. Digital + A4. 29, Fig. 24.
SDV351823Report - non-specific: Turner, J. R.. 1976. Ancient Monuments on Forestry Commission Land. Fernworthy and Bellever. Dartmoor National Park Authority Field Report. Digital.
SDV355681Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2014. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #66521 ]
SDV355683National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2014. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Website.

Associated Monuments

MDV6586Parent of: Hut Circle 720 metres south-west of Metherall (Monument)
MDV6585Parent of: Hut Circle 730 metres south-west of Metherall (Monument)
MDV6588Parent of: Hut Circle 750 metres south-west of Metherall (Monument)
MDV6589Parent of: Hut Circle 755 metres south-west of Metherall (Monument)
MDV6601Related to: Enclosure and field system south of Fernworthy Reservoir (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6203 - Archaeological Survey of Fernworthy Forest
  • EDV6216 - Condition Surveys of Ancient Monuments on Forestry Commission Land
  • EDV7389 - Fernworthy Forest condition survey 1996
  • EDV7410 - Fernworthy Forest condition survey 1992
  • EDV8525 - Cairn investigated, Fernworthy Forest
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Apr 12 2022 10:15AM