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HER Number:MDV14791
Name:Shell Top Reave


Shell Top Reave has been recorded by field and aerial survey as an earthwork bank approximately 1km long, following the south-facing ridge of Penn Moor southwards from Shell Top to Penn Beacon. The bank is clearly identifiable on visualisations derived from lidar data captured in 2013.


Grid Reference:SX 598 633
Map Sheet:SX56SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishCornwood
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishCORNWOOD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Cholwich Town, Penn Beacon and Shell Top Reaves. Earthworks of Bronze Age boundary works with adjacent prehistoric enclosures and hut circles, cairns and stone rows

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56SE/222
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • REAVE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

FLEMING PPS, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV175256.

Vis=-/4/1972 (fleming et al). Starts at sx59936283, ends at sx59826398. Shell top reave. Runs from penn beacon settlement to shell top, known length 1045m. North of the settlement it runs towards penn beacon cairn (sx56se/7) but is difficult to trace, beyond this it follows the crest of the ridge and there are two modern gaps. On shell top it becomes rather slight and is apparently engulfed in blanket bog to the ne. A small trench here revealed a fairly substantial structure almost a metre high. The pollen analysis is dealt with in an appendix by r. L. Jones (pdas). Part of watershed reave known as rook reave (fleming pps).

RCHM APP 1985, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175257.

Visible and recorded (rchm app 1985).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175258.

Fleming, a. + collis, j. + jones, r. L. /pdas/31(1973)10 figs 1,4,7 pl.4/a late prehistoric reave system near cholwich town, dartmoor.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175259.

Jones, r. L. /pdas/31(1973)19-21 fig 8/palaeobotanical investigations of organic deposits from shell top.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175260.

Fleming, a. /pps/44(1978)97-123/ the prehistoric landscape of dartmoor.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV175261.

Aph=nmr sx5863/2(8/4/1976).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV175262.

Aph=raf/cpe/uk 1890 2292-93(-/12/1946).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV175263.


Ordnance Survey, 1989, OS/89154, OS/89154 V 709-710 07-MAY-1989 (Aerial Photograph). SDV363136.

A bank is visible as an earthwork.

NERC, 2013, LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) Tellus: South Devon to Dartmoor, LIDAR SX5962-SX5963 Tellus DTM 01-JUL-2013 to 31-AUG-2013 (Cartographic). SDV361514.

A bank is identifiable as an earthwork.

Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R., 2019-2020, The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP) (Interpretation). SDV362982.

A bank known as Shell Top Reave circa 1.1km long and up to 4m wide is identifiable as an earthwork on visualisations derived from lidar data captured in 2013, following the higher south facing slopes of Penn Moor, north of Penn Beacon.
The southern end of the bank crosses the site of a Bronze Age cairn recorded as MDV2404 and is abutted by the northern edge of the Bronze Age hut circle settlement recorded as MDV2403.
Close to the visible northern terminus of the bank, at circa SX59796381, the earthwork changes orientation to the north-east. Circa 120m after this change in alignment the earthwork becomes less well defined and is probably obscured by peat formation.
The bank is probably roughly contemporary with the settlement although it is not possible to define a relative phasing from the lidar derived images alone.
To the south the boundary continues as Rook Reave (MDV2566)

Sources / Further Reading

SDV175256Report - Survey: FLEMING PPS.
SDV175257Migrated Record: RCHM APP 1985.
SDV175258Migrated Record:
SDV175259Migrated Record:
SDV175260Migrated Record:
SDV175261Aerial Photograph:
SDV175262Aerial Photograph:
SDV175263Migrated Record:
SDV361514Cartographic: NERC. 2013. LiDAR DTM data (1m resolution) Tellus: South Devon to Dartmoor. Digital. LIDAR SX5962-SX5963 Tellus DTM 01-JUL-2013 to 31-AUG-2013. [Mapped feature: #122919 ]
SDV362982Interpretation: Hegarty, C., Knight, S. and Sims, R.. 2019-2020. The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping Survey. Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (AI&M, formerly NMP). Historic England Research Report. Digital.
SDV363136Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1989. OS/89154. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/89154 V 709-710 07-MAY-1989.

Associated Monuments

MDV2404Related to: Cairn on the summit of Penn Beacon (Monument)
MDV2403Related to: Enclosure with hut circle below Penn Beacon (Monument)
MDV2406Related to: Hut west of Penn Beacon (Building)
MDV2566Related to: Rook Reave (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8148 - The Upper Plym Valley: The Management of an Historic Landscape
  • EDV8098 - The South Devon Coast to Dartmoor Aerial Investigation and Mapping (formerly NMP) Survey, Area 2, Avon Valley to Plymouth (Ref: ACD2040)

Date Last Edited:Sep 8 2020 12:13PM