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HER Number:MDV110432
Name:Sittaford Stone Circle, Dartmoor Forest


A previously unrecorded large stone circle noted in 2007 measuring 34 metres in diameter comprising 30 recumbent stones plus a possible outlying stone. Stones used are of a uniform size and may have come from Sittaford Tor. The circle is likely to have been similar to the nearby Grey Wethers circles and would have been impressive when standing.


Grid Reference:SX 630 828
Map Sheet:SX68SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Remains of a prehistoric stone circle south-west of Sittaford Tor; all stones are recumbent

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SW143
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1609192
  • Pastscape: 1609192

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STONE CIRCLE (Early Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 1501 BC (Between))

Full description

Endacott, A., 2007, Possible stone circle to SW of Sittaford Tor, Plan and photographs included (Worksheet). SDV359690.

Possible stone circle to the south-west of Sittaford Tor at SX 63019 82813, elevation: 525 metres (1722ft)
Recumbent stone circle measuring 32 metres in diameter with approximately 22 stones (averaging 1.4 - 2.2 metres by 0.7 - 1.0 metres).
Stones are lying in a regular and evenly-spaced circle approximately 300 metres to the south-west of Sittaford Tor. There may originally have been around 24 stones. Some of the stones, especially on the southern side, are largely buried but were probed just beneath the surface. The circle lies on a very slight slope, slightly to the north-west of the crest of the ridge and has far-reaching panoramic views, apart from to the north-east where Sittaford Tor stands prominently.
About 20 metres from the eastern perimeter, a stone stands in line with the newtake wall that runs from the tor. It may have been associated with the circle at some point, possibly removed from it to form a gatepost as it has two holes drilled into it although it is unlikely that it ever got to serve as such as there are no fixing and the wall is incomplete. Alternatively it may have been a contemporary outlier that was adapted in-situ.
A possible eroded round barrow lies about 100 metres to the north, forming the crest between Cosdon and Sittaford. From this possible barrow, a sunken track runs down the slope in the direction of Quintin’s Man, lined with regularly-spaced boulders as it descends a gentle curve before fading out 100 metres or so down-slope. This could be historic. A low bank, approximately 5 - 6 metres wide by up to 1 metre high, runs down-slope from below the west side for about 100 metres, in the direction of Cut Hill. It may have been a causeway in the direction of the next circle on the arc or perhaps just an old peat tie (although no obvious peat cutting in the vicinity).

Newman, P., 2014, Sittaford stone circle survey drawing (Plan - measured). SDV358001.

Endacott, A., 2014, Sittaford Stone Circle, Devon (Article in Serial). SDV359689.

Dean, R., 2015, An archaeological gradiometer and earth resistance survey, Sittaford stone circle, Dartmoor Forest, Devon, 1 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV359138.

Both the magnetic and earth resistance responses were sufficient to be able to differentiate
anomalies representing possible archaeological features.
Twelve magnetic anomaly groups and ten earth resistance anomaly groups were identified as possibly representing archaeological deposits or features. The magnetic anomaly patterns indicate that a linear feature, or possibly an interlinked set of pits, trending northeastsouthwest glances the south-eastern edge of Sittaford stone circle. There is also some evidence to support the view that the gap at that point in the circle may have had stones present in the past. The resistance data seems to indicate the presence of a linear feature trending west-north -west to east-south-east through north-eastern side of the stone circle although further archaeological investigations would be necessary to determine whether this feature was of natural or archaeological origin. The resistance data also shows what could be a curvilinear sequence of earthen deposits and stony deposits on the south and west of the stone circle and mirroring the circles curvature. Anomalies possibly representing a pit and a stone or stony
deposit were identified on the western side of the circle.
For full results, see report.

Marchand, J., 2015, Sittaford Stone Circle (Un-published). SDV358000.

A previously unrecorded large stone circle has been discovered on northern Dartmoor. The circle has recently been cleared of vegetation and covering turf so that a detailed survey could be carried out. A geophysical survey is now planned to take place in September 2015.
It lies slightly to the west of a ridge of high ground, about 300 metres to the southwest of Sittaford Tor, at 525 metres above sea level, which is the highest altitude for any stone circle in southern England. The situation affords panoramic views in all directions apart from the north-east where Sittaford Tor sits prominently against the skyline, perhaps marking the midsummer sunrise. The 34 metre diameter circle consists of 30 recumbent stones plus one other currently lying across a gap on the eastern side a couple of metres inside the perimeter. The stones, apparently undressed and gathered from the immediate vicinity (possibly from the tor itself) are of fairly uniform size, suggesting they were carefully chosen, and range from about 1.4 metres - 2.2 metres by 0.7 - 1.0 metres. When standing the circle would have been very impressive, dominating the surrounding landscape. It would have been similar in appearance to the twin stone circles of Grey Wethers that lie about 1 kilometre to the east-northeast.
A possible outlier stands about 15 metres to the east of the gap on the eastern side but has been incorporated into an enclosure wall with the apparent intention of being used as a gatepost.
The Sittaford circle appears to form part of an arc of similar monuments around the north-eastern perimeter of Dartmoor, suggesting planning and cooperation between communities in the late Neolithic / Early Bronze Age, i.e. 4500 years ago. The discovery of the circle provides a rare opportunity to investigate it by using the latest scientific methods which may help to provide insights into the chronology, construction and use of these most enigmatic prehistoric monuments.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Circle is clearly seen on the aerial photography.

Farnell, A., 2016, Sittaford stone circle, Dartmoor forest, Dartmoor, Devon (Report - Excavation). SDV363154.

The excavations inn 2016 exposed a consistent sequence of peat deposits across the site that overlay the natural subsoil. The targeted geophysical anomalies and deeper peat depth were shown to relate to the underlying geology. Investigation of three of the stones that made up the circle showed there to be no associated pits representing sockets for the stones, while only subtle evidence for their positioning instead within the relatively shallow underlying prehistoric peat was exposed. As a result it was not possible to conclude whether the stones of the circle were ever upright.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV358000Un-published: Marchand, J.. 2015. Sittaford Stone Circle. Digital.
SDV358001Plan - measured: Newman, P.. 2014. Sittaford stone circle survey drawing. 1:200. Digital.
SDV359138Report - Geophysical Survey: Dean, R.. 2015. An archaeological gradiometer and earth resistance survey, Sittaford stone circle, Dartmoor Forest, Devon. Substrata. 150615-2. Digital. 1.
SDV359689Article in Serial: Endacott, A.. 2014. Sittaford Stone Circle, Devon. Devon Archaeological Society Newsletter. 117. Unknown.
SDV359690Worksheet: Endacott, A.. 2007. Possible stone circle to SW of Sittaford Tor. Worksheet. Digital. Plan and photographs included.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital). [Mapped feature: #69868 ]
SDV363154Report - Excavation: Farnell, A.. 2016. Sittaford stone circle, Dartmoor forest, Dartmoor, Devon. AC Archaeology. ACD1450/1/1. A4 Comb Bound + Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV54672Related to: BARROW in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6758Related to: The Grey Wethers Northern Stone Circle (Monument)
MDV6759Related to: The Grey Wethers southern stone circle (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6835 - Sittaford stone circle, Dartmoor Forest, Dartmoor, Devon (Ref: 150615-2)
  • EDV8139 - Excavation at Sittaford Stone Circle (Ref: ACD1450/1/1)

Date Last Edited:Mar 22 2021 11:30AM