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HER Number:MDV15036
Name:Great Western Reave (southern section), Walkhampton Common

Summary

The Great Western Reave measures over 10 kilometres in length and is the longest known prehistoric land division boundary on Dartmoor. This record covers the most southerly section of the reave (two sections measuring a combined length of 2.58 kilometres). Along its length, the width of the reave varies between 2.5 metres and 4 metres, whilst its height varies between 0.2 metres and 0.7 metres. A second reave leads off at right angles at SX55777088 and there are hut circles and cairns associated with the reave.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 558 714
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWalkhampton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX 57 SE 79
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/170
  • Old SAM Ref: 34425(P)(PART)
  • Pastscape: 440253
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

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

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, 106G/UK/1190, 3269 (Aerial Photograph). SDV170515.


Fleming, A., 1978, The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor. Part 1: South Dartmoor, 97-123 (Article in Serial). SDV235265.

Continuation of the Great Western Reave south of Leeden Tor.


Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX57SE79, 5/8/1980 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV235316.

The reave extends from SX 55217030 (to the north-east of enclosed land in which it probably once continued) to SX 56567251, at a tributary of the River Walkham, a total distance of 2.67 kilometres. It is well-defined and tends towards higher ground for much of its course but neither follows the contours nor has any particular point of alignment, save perhaps Leeden Tor, towards which it gradually curves and skirts the north-west side.
There are several modern breaks and one area of clitter where it is discontinued (see illustration) plan for details). Some gaps at SX563719, north of the Tor, may represent original incompletion; there is no reason for robbing in this area and large scale quarrying 70 metres to the west has not intruded on the course.
The reave makes a distinct easterly turn before reaching its northerly end on the stream. It may have originally ceased about here, though tin streaming has enlarged the area of marsh; certainly there is no sign of any continuation beyond. A comparison may be made with the next lengths 2 kilometres to the north-north-west (MDV15033 and MDV12817).
The only appendages to the reave are a branch to the north-west (MDV28231) and a half dozen huts attached to either side (MDV19958). Surveyed at 1:10 000 on M.S.D.


Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP (Cartographic). SDV319854.

Visible on the 1946 Royal Air Force aerial photographs and recorded on map overlay.


Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP152591, 21/3/2000 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

A length of the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common. A 2660 metre length of the Great Western Reave. Towards its south-western end it survives as a 3 metre wide and 0.3 metre high earthwork. In the vicinity of field system MDV57042 it measures 4 metres wide by 0.4 metres high and survives as an earthwork with occasional protruding stones. Within the vicinity of hut it measures 2.8 metres wide by 0.6 metres high and is of rubble bank construction (SX56047133).


Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 85, Map 45 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Reave is depicted by Butler.


Simmonds, A. + Champness, C., 2015, Excavation of a Transect Across the Great Western Reave at Walkhampton Common, Dartmoor, 1 (Report - Excavation). SDV359812.

The excavation demonstrated that the reave was constructed in two phases, comprising an earthen bank that was succeeded by a roughly built drystone wall. A palinological sequence was recovered from beneath the reave and
indicated that it was constructed in a grassland landscape that was already in use for grazing livestock. No artefactual evidence was recovered and the only sample suitable for radiocarbon dating was a solitary hazelnut shell, which returned a date range that attributed the nut to the early Mesolithic period.


Ordnance Survey, 2016, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359352.

'Boundary work' is depicted on the modern mapping.


Historic England, 2016, National Heritage List for England, Accessed 22/08/2016 (National Heritage List for England). SDV359353.

The monument, which falls into two areas of protection, includes a length of the Great Western Reave, a prehistoric settlement, three cairns, two field systems and a boundary stone on Walkhampton Common.
The Great Western Reave measures over 10km long and is the longest known prehistoric land division boundary on Dartmoor. A 2.58km length of the reave survives within the monument. The first part leads from NGR SX55217030 to SX56157163 and the second part leads from NGR SX56207173 to SX56567251. Along its length, the width of the reave varies between 2.5m and 4m, whilst its height varies between 0.2m and 0.7m. Where the core of the reave is visible, it is of rubble bank construction.
A second reave leads off at right angles at NGR SX55777088 and this one measures 500m long by 1.5m wide and 0.5m high.
The prehistoric settlement lies adjacent to the Great Western Reave at NGR SX56007126 and includes at least six stone hut circles and two enclosures. One of the huts has a visible doorway, all six are butted to the Great Western Reave and two are in turn butted by enclosure walling. These relationships indicate that the reave was constructed first, followed by the stone hut circles and finally the enclosures.
Towards the south western end of the Great Western Reave are two field systems and three cairns (see designation record for full detail).


National Monument Record, 2016, Pastscape, Accessed 22/08/2016 (Website). SDV359354.

The reave at Walkhampton Common extends from the newtake enclosure in the south-west, across a high broad shelf located to the north-west of Sharpitor; here a short spur reave runs down the slope to the north-west. It then runs across a broad valley and over the western flank of Leeden Tor before being cut by a steep tinners' cliff. Just before it is lost it takes a dramatic north-easterly turn. It cannot be traced further north so it may have terminated at the river before it was destroyed by the streamworks It is generally well-preserved and well-defined.
Parts of the reave are now bracken covered. Surveyed at 1:2500 (citing Fletcher, M. J., English Heritage Field Investigation, 24/06/2007).


Various, 2018-2019, PALs Condition Recording forms (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited 09/04/2019. Bad damage at SX55852 71013. Animal trample has caused water erosion in large area and there are also a couple of sheep rub areas here. Photos X 3 taken


Various, 2018-2019, PALs Condition Recording photographs (Photograph). SDV363073.

Visited 09/04/2019. Photos X 3 taken. 1) Reeve going at right angles. 2) Reeve damage 3) Water erosion

Sources / Further Reading

SDV137656Monograph: Butler, J.. 1994. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West. Three. Paperback Volume. 85, Map 45.
SDV170515Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. 106G/UK/1190. Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3269.
SDV235265Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 1978. The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor. Part 1: South Dartmoor. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. 44. Unknown. 97-123.
SDV235316Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX57SE79. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown. 5/8/1980.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP152591, 21/3/2000.
SDV319854Cartographic: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project (Dartmoor) - Dartmoor Pre-NMP. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV359352Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2016. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV359353National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2016. National Heritage List for England. Historic Houses Register. Digital. Accessed 22/08/2016.
SDV359354Website: National Monument Record. 2016. Pastscape. http://www.pastscape.org.uk. Website. Accessed 22/08/2016.
SDV359812Report - Excavation: Simmonds, A. + Champness, C.. 2015. Excavation of a Transect Across the Great Western Reave at Walkhampton Common, Dartmoor. Oxford Archaeology. 5879. Digital. 1.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2019. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital.
SDV363073Photograph: Various. 2018-2019. PALs Condition Recording photographs. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV57042Related to: Bank (Monument)
MDV28499Related to: Boundary stone standing within an enclosure attached to reave on Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV62015Related to: CAIRN in the Parish of Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV28231Related to: Cross reave running from the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV3762Related to: Double stone row 350 meters north-west of Sharpitor (Monument)
MDV62024Related to: ENCLOSURE in the Parish of Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV62013Related to: FIELD SYSTEM in the Parish of Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV12817Related to: Great Western Reave (middle section) (Monument)
MDV4113Related to: Great Western Reave at White Tor (Monument)
MDV4111Related to: Great Western Reave, Roos Tor Section (Monument)
MDV62021Related to: Hut in settlement along the Great Western Reave, Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV15033Related to: Part of the Great Western Reave, Merrivale (Monument)
MDV3761Related to: Single stone row 350 meters north-west of Sharpitor (Monument)
MDV28222Related to: Streamworks along the Yes Tor Brook, Walkhampton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7095 - Excavation of a transect across the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common (Ref: 5879)

Date Last Edited:Jul 2 2019 4:46PM