HeritageGateway - Home

Login  |  Register
Site Map
Text size: A A A
You are here: Home > > > > Devon & Dartmoor HER Result
Devon & Dartmoor HERPrintable version | About Devon & Dartmoor HER | Visit Devon & Dartmoor HER online...

See important guidance on the use of this record.

If you have any comments or new information about this record, please email us.

HER Number:MDV2311
Name:Pool on Wigford Down


Thought originally to be a damaged ring cairn, the features consists of a large oval depression, surrounded by a stony ring with some slabs in upright positions. Feature is thought to potentially be a 'sacred' pool designed in Prehistoric times.


Grid Reference:SX 546 650
Map Sheet:SX56NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishMeavy
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishMEAVEY

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and walling of Bronze age parallel reave field system with hut circle settlements and cairns, plus deserted Medieval settlements with long houses and pillow mounds, on Wigford Down

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX56NW/11
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN? (Constructed, Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))
  • POOL (Constructed, Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/106G/UK/1190, 3239-40 (Aerial Photograph). SDV340833.

Worth, R. H., 1947, 66th Report on Barrows, 54-55, plate 10 (Article in Serial). SDV16898.

On or near the summit of Wigford Down, there are five cairns or remains of cairns. Four are shown on the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map series.
Cairn B. Lies about 30 metres to the south-west of Cairn A; a 'ring cairn' which had been an ordinary bowl cairn until robbed for road making. Only the margin where the stones are merged with the turf, is left, giving it somewhat the appearance of a small pound. Diameter east-west 100 feet, north-south 65 feet.
Called enclosure on the Ordnance Survey map. An iron sword was found below the surface when the stones were taken, thought to be a modern yeomanry sword.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950-1951, SX56NW22 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV252357.

(18/05/1950) This is a complete cairn circle.
Cairn is an oval banked enclosure (?) A cattle pound or an "earth circle" (Citing Fox, A., 1951).

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 157 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

6/5/1976 Site now represented by an oval cavity. No measurements.

Price, D. G., 1978, Settlement and ancient fields on Wigford Down, 69-75 (Article in Serial). SDV220620.

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

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

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Three - The South-West, 80, Map 48.1 (Monograph). SDV137656.

Butler's ?cairn 3, described as an oval enclosure (36 by 19 metres) which may have been a ring cairn, its slightly lowered interior surrounded by a stony bank in which a few upright slabs are visible.
According to Worth's Barrow Rreport of 1943 it was originally bowl-shaped but in 'recent history' was robbed to ground level for road material when an iron sword of 'modern type' was found 'not far below the surface' (citing Worth, R. H., 1943).
Butler believes Worth may have mistaken the identity of the cairn concerned, as his description of the monument 53 years earlier describes it much as it is now.

Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

Marked as a pond on the modern mapping.

Greeves, T. A. P., 2019, Dartmoor's Sacred Pools. Design in the Prehistoric Landscape, 41, Wigford Down A (Article in Serial). SDV363426.

SX 54652 65080 Wigford Down pool A measures 25 by 15m. 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.

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. 80, Map 48.1.
SDV16898Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1947. 66th Report on Barrows. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 79. Paperback Volume. 54-55, plate 10.
SDV220620Article in Serial: Price, D. G.. 1978. Settlement and ancient fields on Wigford Down. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 110. Unknown. 69-75.
SDV252357Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950-1951. SX56NW22. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 157.
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.
SDV340833Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/106G/UK/1190. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3239-40.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV2312Related to: Large damaged summit cairn on Wigford Down, Meavy (Monument)
MDV2219Related to: Parallel reave system on Wigford Down (Monument)
MDV2313Related to: Small cairn on Wigford Down (Monument)
MDV48904Related to: Small cairn on Wigford Down (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jan 7 2020 2:04PM