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HER Number:MDV5662
Name:Stone alignment on Piles Hill, Ugborough


Piles Hill double stone row extends roughly east-west for a total length of 850 metres, in a gentle curve. Over forty stones are visible, all of which are fallen or leaning, but further examples may well be hidden in vegetation. The northern row is better preserved and more regular. Double stone row 840 metres long by 1.5 to 2.5 metres wide with mostly large recumbent slabs and some uprights. Two large terminal stones both ends. Western pair re-erected recently. Extraction pits and stone extraction across the eastern part of the row


Grid Reference:SX 651 610
Map Sheet:SX66SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishUgborough
DistrictSouth Hams
Ecclesiastical ParishUGBOROUGH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX66SE86
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442017
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX66SE/6
  • Old SAM County Ref: 524
  • Old SAM Ref: 10566

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • STONE ALIGNMENT (Constructed, Neolithic - 4000 BC (Between) to 2201 BC (Between))

Full description

Ancient Monuments, 1963, Stone row on Piles Hill (Schedule Document). SDV141077.

(August 1963) Stone row on Piles Hill. Double alignment of stones roughly west-east over the top of Piles Hill. Some of the stones have only partly fallen but most are flat. A stone row discovered by Commander and Mrs Woolner in the 1960s starting at the east end, in sight of Glasscombe Corner, the terminal stone lies with several other large stones on a ridge west of and above West Glaze Brook. An enclosure lies about 183 metres south-east. The row of stones, most of them lying prone, has direction 254 degrees east for about 114 metres, and seven stones can be detected. The direction then appears to change about 10 degrees west, the ground rising all the time. Eight more stones were counted before reaching a leaning stone standing 1.21 metres high, a distance of about 96 metres. A further 118 metres, with 14 stones counted, and there is a leaning stone about 1.21 metres long, followed by 160 metres with 9 stones counted. The Redlake Railway breaks the line of the row. The row leaves Ugborough parish territory at the line of boundary stones. If it did continue west of the rail it probably would have reached a large cairn standing on the top of Piles Hill. A characteristic of the longstones is that they all lie north-south. Several stones show tare-and-feather drill marks, not uncommon with large stones on Ugborough Moor.

Worth, R. H., 1967, Worth's Dartmoor, 265 (Monograph). SDV337618.

The stone row discovered by Commander and Mrs. Woolner across Harford and Ugborough Moors is of almost megalithic proportions.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1977, SX66SE86, SX66SE86 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV141080.

(10/08/1977) The Piles Hill stone row extends from SX 6505 6110 to SX 6589 6111, transversely crossing a saddle on Ugborough Moor for a total length of 850m, in a gentle curve and in a generally east-west direction.
At the western terminal there is a slightly levelled area about 8.0m in diameter with a scarp 0.4m high around the lower western half. The area incorporates one leaning stone set across the axis of the row similar to a blocking stone, and also a recumbent stone.
The double row is formed by 139 stones, 7 of which lean; the others are either stumps with drill marks, cleanly snapped off stones, or recumbent posts, whole or split by drilling. Some 30 stones exceed 2.0m in length with a maximum of 3.0m. A few take the form of slabs or boulders but the majority are of post-type up to 0.6m square in section, with an angled top created by a single 'chamfer'.
The rows in the main alignment are from 21.0m to 30.0m apart and within them the gaps between stones vary from 3.0m to 30.0m. At each end the rows are close, 12.0m to 17.0m apart with fewer large gaps between stones. The eastern termination is at a natural bluff on top of which split stones and transverse trenches indicate the robbing of a possible blocking stone or stones.
The term 'alignment' is used loosely; nowhere is there a consistently straight line of stones. A number have obviously been felled or removed for gateposts etc., and the boundary stone on the west side of Redlake Track probably came from the row.
Others appear not so much uprooted as never erected and are tidily laid at right angles to the general axis with no evidence of post holes. Thus although many stones were clearly in place it is arguable as to whether this row, which would have been the finest on Dartmoor, was originally complete. Surveyed at 1:10 000 on P.F.D. and at 1:200

Hankin, C. F., 1977-1980, Harford Parish Checklist, Pages 232-233 in (Worksheet). SDV149931.

(Estimated 1976-1979) The west terminal on Harford Moor is c.206m south east of Piles Gate at SX 6505 6110 (altitude 360m); a stone leaning c.20 degrees from the vertical, 1.8m measured along its surface, 0.9m by 0.25m base, tapering to 0.15m, and two smaller stones lying c.0.2m from the leaning stone. The site is marked on the Ordnance Survey 6 inch historic maps as "stone". Eastward on bearing 110 degrees east of north recumbent stones varying in length from 1.2m to 1.8m, and several fragments are in line with c.105m - westward of this point the row can be traced in direction c.95 degrees east of north, but the ground for some distance is fairly clear of stones. Towards the top of Piles Hill stones are again more clearly seen, one being 2.8m long by 0.6m, and another near the parish boundary (marked by a line of standing stones) is 3.0m long by 0.65m, both stones lie lengthways north-south. The row then passes into Ugborough parish and is cut by the Redlake Railway track (altitude 385m). The double stone row extends into Ugborough parish for a further 500m. Features which emerge from a survey of the whole area are:-
1. Only a length of about 200m of the row is visible from any one point owing to the curvature of the ground on Piles Hill.
2. The distance between the stones in both alignments appears to be in the order of about 8m.
3. Many of the surviving stones are between 1m and 3m long, with 30 stones 2m - 3m.
4. There is a tendency for recumbent stones to lie lengthways north-south.
5. The leaning stones are different in shape from the recumbent stones.

National Monuments Record, 1980, SF1743, 76-77 (Aerial Photograph). SDV161746.

Robinson, R., 1984, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984 (Un-published). SDV343082.

Visited 12/06/1984.

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

Double stone row - widely spaced apart, part of which is visible west of tramway in Harford parish (South Hams)(SX66SE/6/1), on 1980 National Monuments Record aerial photograph. Extent east of tramway not visible as there is no National Monuments Record aerial photograph coverage to date.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 63-4, 242, Map 54, figure 54.22 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Piles Hill double stone row with upper end at SX65356105. Only twelve of the remaining 120 stones are earthfast at one end and most of these are leaning almost level with the ground. The stones average 1.6 metres in length with 26 being over 2.0 metres long. One of the tallest tilted stones is 2.25 metres long. The rows are not straight but curve to the north for the last hundred metres at both ends.The distance between the rows varies between 15 to 19 metres. Although the terminals are in poor condition they may indicate a total length of 865 metres. The stones seem to have been set about 5.55 metres apart which suggests the number erected was just over 150 in each row. At the east end a stone of 2.5 metres long midway between the rows may be a terminal pillar and lies between a small earthwork and a stone pit. The north row terminates at the west end with a leaning slab 1.9 metres high set at right angles to the row and a smaller companion 1.5 metres high. The final stone in the south row is 2.3 metres high by 1.6 metres across.

Quinnell, N. V., 1995, Notes by Quinnell (Personal Comment). SDV141083.

The whole site was surveyed and planned by an Ordnance Survey Archaeology Officer, Mr. N. V. Quinnell on 10/08/1977.

Various, 2018-2020, PALs Condition Recording forms, UG33 (Worksheet). SDV362781.

Visited in 2017 prior to this project starting; not revisited. Condition assessed as moderate.

Riley, H., 2021, Archaeological Survey: Ugborough Premier Archaeological Landscape, Harford and Ugborough, 9-10, Figures 11-13 (Report - Survey). SDV364697.

Double stone row runs east to west for 840 metres across Piles Hill curving slightly to the north at both ends. The majority of the stones are recumbent with evidence that some of the stones were originally upright. Amassive square slab has been broken and its base is still in the ground. Both ends of the row have two large terminal stones. The western two were recently re-erected and those at the east end are recumbent and form part of a post-medieval stone working area. Some stones have feather and tare split marks and one near the tramway has drill holes on its upper surface.

Riley, H., 2021, UG21 heritage asset database and gazetteer of sites (Report - Survey). SDV364699.

Visited on 26th April 2021, surveyed and photographed. Stone row on Piles Hill: double stone row, orientated east to west, curves to north at west and east, 840 metres long, 1.5-2.5 metres wide, mostly large, recumbent slabs, some uprights, two large terminal stones at west and east ends, western pair re-erected recently; extraction pits and stone extraction across eastern part of row.

Edwards, M. + Trick, S., 2022, An archaeological magnetometer and resistance survey Land at Piles Hill Stone Row Centred on NGR: 265524,061055 (Report - Geophysical Survey). SDV364932.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV141077Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1963. Stone row on Piles Hill. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown. [Mapped feature: #95586 ]
SDV141080Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1977. SX66SE86. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Unknown. SX66SE86.
SDV141083Personal Comment: Quinnell, N. V.. 1995. Notes by Quinnell. Not Applicable.
SDV149931Worksheet: Hankin, C. F.. 1977-1980. Harford Parish Checklist. Parish Checklist. Digital. Pages 232-233 in.
SDV161746Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1980. SF1743. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 76-77.
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.
SDV337618Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1967. Worth's Dartmoor. Worth's Dartmoor. A5 Hardback. 265.
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. 63-4, 242, Map 54, figure 54.22.
SDV343082Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1984. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1984. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
SDV362781Worksheet: Various. 2018-2020. PALs Condition Recording forms. PALs Condition Assessment Project Forms. Digital. UG33.

Associated Monuments

MDV3066Related to: Blackwood Path from Wrangaton Moor Gate to Hook Lake and Erme Pound, Ugborough Moor (Monument)
MDV5678Related to: Boundary stone on Piles Hill Stone row, Harford and Ugborough parishes (Monument)
MDV5708Related to: Cairn on Piles Hill south of Piles Hill stone row, Harford (Monument)
MDV13485Related to: Cairn or mound south of Piles Hill stone row on the summit of Piles Hill, Harford (Monument)
MDV16518Related to: Cairn south-east of Higher Piles, Harford (Monument)
MDV132357Related to: Hollow way on north side of Piles Hill stone row, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV28482Related to: Possible cairn and cist south of Piles Hill stone row, Ugborough (Monument)
MDV5167Related to: Redlake Clay works pipeline, Harford and Ugborough parishes (Monument)
MDV5763Related to: Summit cairn on Piles Hill, Harford (Monument)
MDV3138Related to: The Redlake China Clay Railway, Harford & Dratmoor Forest Parishes (Monument)
MDV25673Related to: Tinworking trial pits north-east of Piles Hill, Ugborough (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8770 - Archaeological Survey: Ugborough Premier Archaeological Lanscape, Harford and Ugborough
  • EDV8817 - Geophysical survey of Piles Hill Stone Row and cairns, Ugborough (Ref: 2111-PIL-R-1)

Date Last Edited:Jul 25 2022 11:57AM