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HER Number:MDV57042
Name:Earthwork bank to the north-west of the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common, Walkhampton


Earthwork bank with several elements to the north-west of the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common of unknown date or function


Grid Reference:SX 554 705
Map Sheet:SX57SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishWalkhampton
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishWALKHAMPTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX57SE125
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 440387
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX57SE/382
  • Old SAM Ref: 34425(P)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • BANK (EARTHWORK) (Constructed, Early Neolithic to Late Medieval - 4000 BC (Between) to 1539 AD (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1980, SX57SE125 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV241018.

(22/05/1980) Centred at SX 55397056, on a slight southwest slope, is a curvilinear bank of earth and stone, now turf-covered the ends of which return up the slope. There is a similar but more angular extension to the northwest (see plan and profiles and ground photograph).
The whole gives the impression of Medieval or later field clearance on a massive scale dumped upon prehistoric lynchets, possibly part of field system (SX 57 SE 126).
At SX 55407055, within the bank or possibly heaped onto it, is a circular mound 12.0m. in diameter and up to 1.6m. high. It has a greater stone content than the bank and has a hollow in the top, 1.5m. across and 0.4m. deep.
At SX 55347057, to the southwest of the bank there is an elongated stony mound which measures 5.8m. by 3.8m. and is 0.5m. high, measured from the base of a traffic route. This extends to each side of the mound which is probably a clearance heap.
Bank and mounds surveyed at 1:10 000 on M.S.D. and at 1:2500.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 152594 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

At SX55377057 is a field system next to and north of the Great Western Reave on Walkhampton Common.

Fletcher, M. J., 2007-2008, Walkhampton Premier Archaeological Landscape; Field Investigation Project (Report - Survey). SDV359195.

(12/06/2007) An enigmatic earth and stone bank of uncertain origin and function lies across the contour of a gentle west-facing slope in unenclosed moorland. It is an impressive if ragged feature with a broad ditch on the inside and a short water-worn ditch on the outside. It has a generally curvilinear shape with an L-shaped bank added to the west end. Its eastern end terminates at the Walkhampton prehistoric reave but given the disturbed nature of the area the relationship of these two features is not discernible. It has been cut by three tracks and is under moorland grass. Two turf-covered stony mounds are extant, one lies on the top of the bank and the second to the west of the feature. The earthwork which has no clearly identifiable form has been dated to the Neolithic and also the Medieval or later periods.
There is no field system apparent in the area and no obvious reason for stone clearance to be heaped in such a way. If it were located on a level site the earthwork could easily be interpreted as a tinners dam.
The monument lies in open moorland with widely scattered stands of gorse. Surveyed at 1:1000 scale.

Newman, P., 2019, An Archaeological Survey of an area of Walkhampton Common, Dartmoor National Park, Devon, Appendix, Figures 6, 17 & 18 (Report - Survey). SDV363478.

One of two substantial, curved earthwork banks located on Walkhampton Common on the western slope of Sharpitor, 100 metres north-west of the B3212. The bank comprises to adjoining elements. The larger is a crescentic earthwork which runs across the contour of the slope and is 100 metres long, tip to tip, with a curvature depth of approximately 33 metres. A second bank extends from the western end of the section already described. The bank is up to 12 metres wide and at its strongest point is 1.2 metres high, but fades into the moorland slope at its extremities. A stony round cairn of probable prehistoric date, was incorporated into the bank, the upper section of which is the only part now exposed. The main bank is breached in two places, the western of which has evidence of vehicle erosion, though it is uncertain if either were original features. The purpose and date of this and a similar earthwork 100 metres to the north-east (MDV126762) are not known. However, this bank varies slightly from the other in that its greater curvature and additional height on the interior of the curve could indicate that it was capable of containing water, although there is no obvious reason to suspect that a reservoir was ever needed on this part of the moor. A small earthwork spur extends from the western side of the Great Western Reave, 20 metres to the east of the bank. This feature could have been related to the bank, though there is no visible association between the two surviving on the ground today.

Newman, P., 2019, Walkhampton Common Survey data (GIS and Excel Spreadsheet) (Cartographic). SDV363701.

Feature shown on survey.

Ordnance Survey, 2020, MasterMap 2020 (Cartographic). SDV363413.

Elements of the bank shown on modern mapping.

Historic England, 2020, National Heritage List for England, 1019589 (National Heritage List for England). SDV363414.

Towards the south western end of the Great Western Reave are two field systems and three cairns. The first, centred at NGR SX55377057, includes two substantial rubble banks measuring up to 8 metres wide and 1.4 metres high. These banks are more substantial than the field boundaries associated with Bronze Age settlements on the Moor and it is considered likely that they are of Neolithic or Early Bronze Age date. Their position midway between two stone alignments and more significantly the addition of a later funerary cairn to the top of one boundary is very suggestive of an early origin. The cairn on top of the field boundary measures 8 metres in diameter and stands up to 1.4 metres high. A slight hollow in the centre of the mound suggests partial early excavation or robbing. A second cairn lying south of the field system measures 9.8 metres long by 5 metres wide and stands up to 0.7 metres high. This too has been investigated in the past.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV241018Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1980. SX57SE125. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Card Index.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 152594.
SDV359195Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. J.. 2007-2008. Walkhampton Premier Archaeological Landscape; Field Investigation Project. English Heritage. Unknown.
SDV363413Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap 2020. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.
SDV363414National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2020. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1019589.

Associated Monuments

MDV62015Related to: Cairn built on an earlier field system boundary on Walkhampton Common, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV126762Related to: Earthwork bank on Walkhampton Common, Walkhampton (Monument)
MDV15036Related to: Great Western Reave (southern section), Walkhampton Common (Monument)
MDV62016Related to: Possible cairn adjacent to a field system on Walkhampton Common, Walkhampton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8225 - Survey of an area of Walkhampton CommonSurvey of an area of Walkhampton Common
  • EDV8351 - Walkhampton Premier Archaeological Landscape; Field Investigation Project

Date Last Edited:Oct 11 2021 1:07PM