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HER Number:MDV5223
Name:Ryder's Hill cairn on the summit of Ryder's Hill, Dartmoor Forest


Ryder's Hill cairn with two boundary stones and an Ordnance Survey trigpoint mounted on it. This site is on the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.


Grid Reference:SX 659 690
Map Sheet:SX66NE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
Civil ParishHolne
DistrictSouth Hams
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Bronze age cairn on Ryder's Hill topped with a modern marker stone indicating the boundary between the parishes of Holne and Dartmoor Forest

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66NE13
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66NE/43
  • Pastscape: 441387
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CAIRN (Constructed, Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 1501 BC (Between))
  • BOUNDARY STONE (Modern - 1751 AD to 2013 AD (Between))

Full description

National Monuments Record, NMR SF 1747, 414-416 (Aerial Photograph). SDV145032.

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

'Petre's Bound Stone' shown on 'Ryder's Hill' on 19th century map.

Ordnance Survey, 1904 - 1906, Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map (Cartographic). SDV325644.

'Petre's Bound Stone' indicated on Ordnance Survey 6 inch (1906) map (and on 6 inch (1969) map.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 141 (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

Site visited on 11th October 1975. Cairn, crowned by Petre's Boundary Stone. The cairn measures 32 meters in diameter, 0.9 meters in height.

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

Visible and recorded.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 173, Map 58 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Ryder's Hill cairn at SX65976904 of 30.0 metres diameter by 1.5 metres. By the 17th century the cairn on the summit of Ryder's Hill has been known as 'Knattleborough' or variations of that name. It was important as far back as the 1240 Perambulation marking the boundary of the Forest with the moors of Holne and Buckfastleigh. Several pillars on the top include two slabs labelled 'H' for Holne and 'B' for Buckfastleigh known as 'Petre-on-the Mount' and 'Petre's Bound Stone', and an Ordnance Survey pyramid at the centre. The latter may have disturbed a central deposit but otherwise, apart from some pitting and a slight central hollow, the cairn seems to be relatively undamaged and retains its shape well. A circular platform 30 metres in diameter rises to a low mound 12 metres across at the centre and about 1.5 metres above ground level.

Gerrard, S., 2004, List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor (Un-published). SDV345444.

This site was considered for designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument during the Monument Protection Programme. The programme ended before the entire list of sites was successfully scheduled so this is included on a local list of Nationally Important Sites.

English Heritage, 2005-2008, Prehistoric Survey Information (Cartographic). SDV345521.

Cairn shown on survey.

Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC, 2015-2017, 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs (Aerial Photograph). SDV361462.

Visible on aerial photograph.

National Monuments Record, 2020, Pastscape, 441387, SX66NE13 (Website). SDV363416.

Site visited in 1950. Cairn, measuring 29.0 meters in diameter, 1.4 meters in height. A probable turf-covered cairn, surmounted by Petre's Boundary Stone and Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar.
Field Investigation on 14th July 1977. Large platform cairn, 30.5 meters in diameter, 1.0 meter high. Turf-covered and in good condition except for erection of Petre's bound stone, a modern boundary stone and an Ordnance Survey triangulation pillar upon it. It lies on the broad level summit of Ryder's Hill at 515 meters above sea level.
Field Investigation on 11th January 1995. A large, turf-covered platform cairn lies towards the centre of the plateau of Ryder's Hill at SX 65976905. It is circular with a diameter of 30.8 metres and a maximum height of 1.5 metres. It is very compact, containing a very large proportion of stone. Externally, on the northern side, the scarp has slumped slightly, and there is a slight cutting into the south-south-western edge. Internally, there is a long, curved hollow on the north side from the north-east through to the north-west which gives the false appearance of a rim surrounding a central mound. Within this ditch is a hollow 4.5 metres in diameter and 0.4 metres deep. It is likely that this supplied the packing stone for the two boundary posts to the south of the triangulation pillar in the centre of the cairn. Around there, as well as around the OS pillar, there are erosion hollows but, despite these, the cairn is in remarkably good condition with no great loss of stone.
In the survey of the Forest Bounds in 1607 the cairn was referred to as "Knattleburroughe" as well as "Gnatteshill" (Hemery), and other variations (Butler). The cairn appears to have had importance since at least the 1240 Perambulation, the route of which is now fossilized by the current boundary markers.

Ordnance Survey, 2021, MasterMap 2021 (Cartographic). SDV364015.

'Petre's Boundary', 'Cairn' and 'BSs' shown on modern mapping at this location.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV145032Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. NMR SF 1747. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. 414-416.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 141.
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.
SDV325644Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1904 - 1906. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Second Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV336179Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 1880-1899. First Edition Ordnance 25 inch map. First Edition Ordnance Survey 25 inch Map. Map (Digital).
SDV337765Monograph: Butler, J.. 1993. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East. Four. Paperback Volume. 173, Map 58.
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV345521Cartographic: English Heritage. 2005-2008. Prehistoric Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV361462Aerial Photograph: Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. 2015-2017. 2015-2017 Aerial Photographs. Bluesky International Ltd/Getmapping PLC. Photograph (Digital).
SDV363416Website: National Monuments Record. 2020. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 441387, SX66NE13.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #94260 ]

Associated Monuments

MDV48126Related to: Boundary stone on Ryder's Hill (Monument)
MDV5251Related to: Possible barrow on Ryder's Hill, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7100 - Holne Moor Survey

Date Last Edited:Mar 7 2021 12:58PM