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HER Number:MDV20498
Name:Stannon Hill reave system, Stannon Block System

Summary

A Bronze Age parallel reave system covering an area of some 280 hectares of moorland. The western extremity appears to follow the East Dart River, the northern edge is probably formed by the northernmost reave. The main elements are several parallel stoney banks or axial reaves at intervals of between 120 metres and 250 metres apart. They are visible running east from the left bank of the East Dart River, north of Hartland Tor. On crossing the Hartland and Stanton Brooks they alter course to the north-east. 3 distinct axial reaves and several shorter transverse reaves are visible on the western flank of Merripit Hill. Only the northernmost axial reave is discernible on the eastern flank, the others being lost in peat and valley bogs. All 3 can be seen again climbing the western flanks of Water Hill and Assycombe Hill and they appear to terminate on the projected line of a transverse reave linking the two hilltops. Roughly midway between Water Hill and Assycombe Hill, a single well-defined axial reave runs for 700 metres north to south from the projected line of the transverse reave.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 661 814
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE408
  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE77
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 1404472
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443877
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/180
  • Old SAM Ref Revised: 28779
  • Old SAM Ref: 34498

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • PARALLEL REAVE SYSTEM (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 4362 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224714.

Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF 58/6399, 19-20 (Aerial Photograph). SDV225229.

(02/07/1964) Cropmark of a sub 'D'-shaped enclosure visible on photo at SX 674 825. It encloses hut circles marked on the OS 6" 1963 (SX 68 SE 9) which are not visible on the air photographs. The straight side of the enclosure extends as an apparent reave south-wards to SX 6666 8168.
Another similar bank runs parallel from SX 6671 8210 to SX 6730 8305.

NMR, 1977, SX6580/1 (Aerial Photograph). SDV320420.

Greeves, T. A. P., 1983, Middle Merripit Survey Drawing (Plan - measured). SDV321106.

Prehistoric reaves and enclosures on Stannon Hill. One hut circle and an enclosure visible. Shown on Middle Merripit Survey sketch plot.

Fleming, A., 1984, The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor; Wider Implications, 210 (Article in Serial). SDV320417.

Stannon Block System. Strung between Assycombe Hill Ridge Reave and the East Dart River. Circa 3km long by 1km wide. Other details: Part 2.

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

Field system visible on the west and north-west faces of Merripit Hill.

Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England, 1987-1993, Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit, S. Probert (Report - Survey). SDV350839.

(06/11/1992) The D-shaped enclosure recorded at SX 674 825 lies adjacent to Fleming's Hurston Ridge Main reave (1988). His Stannon block system lies at the south west end of the latter and is comprised of four parallel southwest to northeast reaves circa 275 metres apart.
Only those elements lying within Little Stannon Newtake and Middle Merripit Farm have been investigated. These consist of the southwest end of the block system and two further areas, not depicted by Fleming the south flank of Stannon Tor and the ridge north of Hartland Tor. The latter two are dealt with on SX 68 SW 66. The 3 northeast to southwest reaves lying in little Stannon Newtake consist of earth and stone banks 1.5 to 2.5 metres wide and up to 1 metre high. Fragments of similarly constructed northwest to southeast-orientated cross reaves subdivided the long rectilinear enclosures formed by the main reaves. A further northeast to southeast reave lies in partially improved land south of the main block in Middle Merripit Farm. Much robbed, it is visible as a turf covered rickle of stones about 1.3 metres wide with a maximum height of 0.2 metres.
No relationship between the main northeast to southwest reaves and the shorter subdivided ones is discernible; all junctions have suffered disturbance. At SX 6532 8032 a possible gateway 1.5 metres wide is one of the main northeast to southwest reaves is flanked by two upright granite slabs. Three upright stones (SX 68 SE 125) at SX 6534 8018, adjacent to the north reave, have been interpreted as the south end of the Stannon stone row but there is no evidence within the surveyed area to confirm this. They may represent the retaining kerb of a cairn, similar to the nearby SX 68 SE 24, Which has been partially obliterated by the reave.
Hut circles exist at two places within the surveyed area. Centred at SX 6538 8050 are two huts and several short lengths of walling (SX 68 SE 79) which cannot be related to the reave system. At SX 65422 80149 a poorly preserved hut and enclosure (SX 68 SE 126) may have been added to the north side of an already existing reave though no direct relationship is discernible. The reaves become obscured by peat as they climb the west flank of Merripit Hill but they reappear outside the investigated area and are sketched on the accompanying plan from APs.
Centred SX 6620 8100: The 'Stannon Block System' (Fleming 1989, Fig 21).
The investigated area of this apparently undeveloped parallel reave system has for the purposes of this survey been limited to that part within the parish of Lydford and for its eastern and north-eastern extremities lying in Chagford parish. This area covers some 280 hectares of enclosed and unenclosed moorland with approximately 150 hectares of improved land on the western fringes. The western part, within SX 68 SW, is recorded in detail as SX 68 SW 66. The boundaries of this system are not well-defined. The western extremity would appear to follow the East Dart River, the northern edge is probably formed by the northernmost reave (surveyed during the field investigation). On the south and east no boundary is apparent. The main elements of this system are several parallel stoney banks or axial reaves, which are on average 1.8 metres wide and 0.4 metres high and are at intervals of between 120 metres and 250 metres apart. They are first visible running east from the left bank of the East Dart River North of Hartland Tor. On crossing the Hartland and Stannon Brooks they alter course to the northeast. Three distinct axial reaves and several shorter transverse reaves are visible ascending the western flank of Merripit Hill. The former are equally spaced and 275 metres apart. Only one of the three axial reaves, the northernmost, is discernible on the eastern side of Merripit Hill, the others being lost in peat and valley bogs. All three can be seen again climbing the western flanks of Water Hill and Assycombe Hill and they apparently terminate at or on the projected line of a transverse reave linking the two hilltops. Roughly midway between Water Hill and Assycombe Hill a single well-defined axial reave runs approximately 700 metres northeast from the projected line of the transverse reave before leaving the investigated area. A shorter section of a less well preserved reave lies parallel and 220 metres to the north. With the exception of its western end the system appears not to have been very well developed. There is no trace of the extensive infilling between the axial reaves as is so obvious on other systems (e.g. SX 68 NE 67). Only two Settlements (SX 68 SE 80 and SX 68 SW 126), which lie in the developed western part of the system, can be seen to be directly associated with the reaves. Other huts (SX 68 SE 20, 26, 79 and 195) lie in open ground and are not physically attached to the parallel system. A total of eight cairns (SX 67 NE 158 and SX 68 SE 19, 21, 23, 24, 196, 197 and 200) also lie within though they are apparently not connected to the reaves.
for a detailed 1:2500 survey of the eastern, unenclosed part of the system see RCHME Statts Brook survey (RCHME 1992). The enclosed land at the western edge of the system was surveyed during the RCHME Duchy Farms Project (see Middle Merripit and Greyhound Farm plans: archived at the National Monuments Record, Swindon). (5)

Scheduled, National Number 28779.

Fleming, A., 1988, The Dartmoor Reaves: Investigating Prehistoric Land Divisions, 37, 50, 53, 127, Fig 21, 29 (Monograph). SDV229071.

Newman, P., 2002, Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines, S. Probert (Report - Survey). SDV363213.

(07/11/2002) Bronze Age reave, coaxial field system.

English Heritage, 2004, Schedule Note (Schedule Document). SDV320500.

(22/06/2004) Coaxial field system, a Prehistoric settlement, two cairns and a stone alignment survive in 'Little Stannon Newtake', c.900m south-east of 'Stannon Tor'.
SX 65408100 Remains of 4 lengths of field walls representing part of a Bronze age coaxial field system on a west facing slope overlooking the valley of the Stannon Brook. The fields survive as a group arranged on a single north-east to south-west prevailing axis, subdivided by transverse boundaries. The boundaries survive as stony banks measuring up to 3.0m wide and 0.7m high. Within the southernmost field is a stone hut circle settlement.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV224714Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4362.
SDV225229Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF 58/6399. 19-20.
SDV229071Monograph: Fleming, A.. 1988. The Dartmoor Reaves: Investigating Prehistoric Land Divisions. The Dartmoor Reaves: Investigating Prehistoric Land Divisions. Hardback Volume. 37, 50, 53, 127, Fig 21, 29.
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.
SDV320417Article in Serial: Fleming, A.. 1984. The Prehistoric Landscape of Dartmoor; Wider Implications. Landscape History. 6. Unknown. 210.
SDV320420Aerial Photograph: NMR. 1977. SX6580/1.
SDV320500Schedule Document: English Heritage. 2004. Schedule Note. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV321106Plan - measured: Greeves, T. A. P.. 1983. Middle Merripit Survey Drawing. Middle Merripit Survey Drawing. Digital.
SDV350839Report - Survey: Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. 1987-1993. Duchy Farms Project Survey Visit. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Archaeological Survey. Unknown. S. Probert.
SDV363213Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2002. Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines. English Heritage. A1/34/2002. A4 Comb Bound + Digital. S. Probert. [Mapped feature: #82784 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV54556Parent of: Hut circle on Merripit Hill (Monument)
MDV70976Parent of: REAVE in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV70974Parent of: Reave on Merripit Hill (Monument)
MDV70975Parent of: Reave on Merripit Hill (Monument)
MDV48016Parent of: Stannon Block System, Assycombe Hill Ridge Reave (Monument)
MDV6616Related to: Cairn 570 metres north-east of Stannon Farmstead (Monument)
MDV6657Related to: Cairn at Stannon Bottom, Bellever Plantation (Monument)
MDV26789Related to: Enclosure attached to the west side of Hurston Ridge Main Reave on Chagford Common, Chagford (Monument)
MDV27751Related to: Enclosure with hut circles east of Water Hill, Chagford (Monument)
MDV132644Related to: Four hut circles on western boundary of enclosure east of Water Hill, Chagford (Monument)
MDV119066Related to: Fragments of enclosures or fields on Merripit Hill (Monument)
MDV15081Related to: Hartland Reaves; Stannon Reave system (Monument)
MDV6714Related to: Hurston Ridge Reave on Chagford Common, Chagford (Monument)
MDV19553Related to: Hut circle settlement on Merripit Hill (Monument)
MDV19556Related to: Streamworks on the Stannon Brook (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8648 - Middle Merripit Farm, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8649 - Little Stannon Newtake, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8650 - Great Stannon Newtake, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8660 - Stannon, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project
  • EDV7139 - Headland Warren and the Birch Tor and Vitifer Mines Survey (Ref: A1/20/2001, A1/34/2002)
  • EDV7505 - Boveycombehedd, Chagford: An Archaeological Investigation of a Diachronic Landscape

Date Last Edited:Apr 6 2022 10:07AM