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HER Number:MDV19004
Name:Blackpool, Mardon Down

Summary

Marked as an enclosure on historic mapping, this is actually a seasonal pond. Surveyed in 2017, its outline shape is unevenly rounded on the western end. Its appearance, with small scarped edges, suggest it was hand dug and large boulders around the edge have been left in situ. The hollow measures 22 metres by 17 metres but is only 0.5 metres deep. An alignment of small stones in the base of the hollow may be a more recent addition. There is no indication as to where material removed from the hollow was dumped. Cannot be confirmed for certain as a dewpond and no evidence was found for this ever having been the site of a ring cairn, as previously suggested. Recorded as Black Pool in 1912. Included in Greeves' list (2019) of 'sacred pools', with potentially prehistoric origins.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 767 873
Map Sheet:SX78NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMoretonhampstead
DistrictTeignbridge
Ecclesiastical ParishMORETONHAMPSTEAD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX78NE/67

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • POND (Constructed, Early Neolithic to Post Medieval - 4000 BC to 1750 AD? (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey, 1880-1899, First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map (Cartographic). SDV336179.

Triangular enclosure marked. Map object based on this source.

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

Feature visible.

Newman , P., 2017, A Stone Circle and Cairn Group on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead, Devon, 13, Figs 9, 10, 18 (Report - Survey). SDV360188.

Seasonal pond earthwork at SX 76751 87343
This hollowed earthwork is situated approximately midway between the stone circle and Giant’s Grave on the summit ridge. Reviously recorded in the HER as a dew pond, which may have utilised an existing ring cairn (see previous sources). Its outline is depicted on the 1884 Ordnance Survey 1:25-inch map, and a Chapman photograph of c.1912, entitled Black Pool, Mardon, shows it filled with water.
The outline shape is uneven but reflects approximately what is depicted on the 1884 map, unevenly rounded on the western end. Its appearance, with small scarped edges, suggest it was hand dug and large boulders around the edge have been left in situ. The hollow measures 22 metres by 17 metres but is only 0.5 metres deep. An alignment of small stones in the base of the hollow may be a more recent addition. There is no indication as to where material removed from the hollow was dumped, or if it was removed from the Down.
Although this earthwork has certainly accumulated seasonal rainwater in the past, it cannot be confirmed for certain if that was its original purpose. Dewponds, despite the misnomer, always collected rainwater not dew, and were designed for watering cattle where no natural supply was present, which would be likely at this hilltop location. No evidence can be identified for this ever having been the site of a ring cairn, as recorded in the HER.
Surveyed at 1:200 scale. Map object based on this source.

Greeves, T. A. P., 2019, Dartmoor's Sacred Pools. Design in the Prehistoric Landscape, 6, Blackpool (Article in Serial). SDV363426.

Blackpool, Mardon SX 76751 87348. Measures 25 by 20m.
One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period, and may have been used to deposit votive items, although these Dartmoor examples may have alternative significance as designed prehistoric elements in the landscape. Many are located on ridge tops and in conjunction with cairns, stone rows and other prehistoric features. Further research may well reveal more about these interesting features.

Greeves, T., 29/09/1982, Dewpond? (Worksheet). SDV289823.

Site visits June 1982 and 15th September 1982. Local report of a dewpond on Mardon Down on which people used to skate in the winter. The site can probably be identified with the enclosure depicted on Ordnance Survey maps at SX76788734. It is possible that the feature is a prehistoric ring cairn in orign later reused as a dewpond.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV289823Worksheet: Greeves, T.. 29/09/1982. Dewpond?. Digital.
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (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. 13, Figs 9, 10, 18.

Associated Monuments

MDV105916Related to: Cairn Cemetery on Mardon Down (Monument)
MDV8290Related to: Finds from Cairn on Mardon Down, Moretonhampstead (Find Spot)
MDV119196Related to: Gun pit 40 metres north-east of seasonal pond on Mardon Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

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

Date Last Edited:Jan 6 2020 4:06PM