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HER Number:MDV5933
Name:Field system and hut settlements on south-west slopes of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Extensive Bronze Age settlement, field system and post medieval rabbit warren located south of Longaford Tor overlooking the West Dart River recorded in 1989. The stone hut circle settlement includes at least 101 stone hut circles which survive as banks or walls each surrounding a circular internal area. This settlement was later incorporated into a rabbit warren. There are at least 32 pillow mounds and a warrener's house which has two separate rectangular earthwork buildings within a rectangular enclosure. The warren may have been established in 1895 and abandoned pre 1914 although some of the mounds may belong to an earlier undocumented warren.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 612 772
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67NW81
  • National Monuments Record: SX67NW97
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442738
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 442780
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/112
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/63
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/63/2
  • Old SAM County Ref: 922
  • Old SAM Ref: 34551

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))
  • UNENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, 1964, RAF 58/6399, 032-33 (Aerial Photograph). SDV225229.

SX 615 772: Remains of possible enclosures visible spread over a wide area. Also, several circular marks.

National Monuments Record, 1969, SX6176, 1/37-41 (Aerial Photograph). SDV249653.

Ancient Monuments, 1972, Schedule note (Schedule Document). SDV249643.

(05/10/1972) Field system and associated sites east of Wistman's Wood.
This fine field system is presumably to be linked with the hut circle settlement scheduled on the other bank of the River Dart. It is well preserved, restricted in size and contains as well as long rectangular fields pounds for stock rearing.
One very interesting feature adds a further dimension to this complex. On the east edge of the area where the fields are giving way to the "clitter" on the side of Littaford Tors a series of small cairns and arches are apparent. Some of these doubtless are clearance heaps but some are quite deliberately built 'cairn rings' and presumably represent a cemetery of burials along the rim of the agricultural area to be linked with the hut circle occupation. I have suspected the existence of these for a long period but this is the first occasion I have seen such a striking example. The cairn rings which look just like small hut circles with no entrance are about 2.7m - 3.6m in diameter. The whole area is under moorland scrub and gorse and is situated close by the Wistman's Wood pathway, much used by field trips of various kinds - the only threat that one can immediately see.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX67NW81 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV249650.

(01/10/1978) SX 613 772: on the west-facing slopes of Littaford Tors between 440 - 410 metres OD and covering an area of 700 metres north-south by 100 metres east-west, are the remains of prehistoric settlements consisting of fragmentary enclosure walls and 61 hut circles. No cultivation appears to have been carried out in the area of the settlements. The hut circles are in fair to poor condition and all appear to be of Type 1. (Type site SX 56 SE 19). Most of them are small, the average internal diameters being 3 metres. The thickness of the walls varies from 0.8 metres to 2 metres. Entrances are visible in 48 of the huts, the majority in the south-east, south and south-west sides.
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on PFD and at 1:2500 for AO Records.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX67NW91, SX67NW91? (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV270537.

SX67NW91? (21/10/1978) Over an area of approx 2 hectares centred at SX 6150 7700, are the remains of a Prehistoric field system. The walls of the fields are mostly low and fragmentary, often barely traceable, and are on average 0.5-0.6m wide and up to 0.3m high. It is therefore difficult to be precise as to the sizes of the fields; which appear to vary with the nature of the ground, which is clitter strewn on the north and east and more open on the south and west, where there is evidence of cultivation.
One field visible on aerial photographs at SX 6150 7655 measures 100m by 80m, but most are considerably smaller than this. These fields are undoubtedly associated with the settlements lower down the slope.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1978, SX67NW97, SX67NW97 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV231306.

(04/10/1978) Centred at SX 6135 7675 on the lower west-facing slopes of Littaford Tors at 400.0m OD are the remains of two prehistoric enclosures and three hut circles (See plan). The oval-shaped enclosure measures 30.0m x 30.0m overall and incorporates one hut circle, and a roughly rectangular sub-divided yard on its east side.
The other incomplete enclosure incorporates one hut-circle and a yard measuring 5.0m x 3.0m. On the uphill side it appears to merge with the extensive field system on Littaford Tors. The huts have an average diameter internally of 4.0m with walls 1.0m thick. Two have an entrance on the south. The most southerly hut may be of Type 2; the others of Type 1. No cultivation appears to have taken place in the vicinity. (Type sites: 1, SX 56 SE19; 2, 56 NE71).
Surveyed at 1:10 000 on PFD and at 1:2500 for AO Records.

National Monuments Record, 1979, SF1509, 278-284 (Aerial Photograph). SDV262885.

Robinson, R., 1983, List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983 (Un-published). SDV345762.

Visited 19/01/1983.

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

Within the scheduled area is an enclosure in the south incorporating two hut circles in its walls; a possible enclosure in the north, incorporating two hut circles; a number of banks; five pillow mounds presumably of warren SX67NW/117 and 15 hut circles. Further extents of this settlement pattern are SX67NW/90, SX67NW/112.

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

No sign of cultivation. NB. This site is apparently partially within SAM 922. The enclosure is visible within the scheduled area. Outside the scheduled area is a bank. There are few hut circles here, most of them being in the north at SX67NW/233. These features are visible on good NMR 1969 and 1979 APs.

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

(08/05/1989) Vis=5/10/1972 (ancient monuments) + 8/5/1989 (pattison) SX613-768- this field system is overstressed and slightly misinterpreted in previous accounts. The area defined on the 1:10,000 nar record sheet, a 20 ha strip to either side of the line between sx61457745 and sx61557645, is in fact largely devoid of archaeological features and dominated by thick clitter. However, at sx61557722 it clips the sw edge of a field system (nmr:sx67nw117) lying mainly to the ne between littaford and longaford tors. The previous accounts in reality were referring to enclosures and fields among numerous hut circles and are part of an intricate settlement development rather than a field system proper (nmr, citing ancient monuments and pattison).
Des=rchm/plan/(5/7/1989)in smr plan chest.

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

(30/06/1989) Extensive prehistoric settlement remains comprising 78 hut circles, 5 enclosures and parts of 3 others, together with fragmentary field walls centred at SX 613772 on the east side of the west Dart Valley beneath Langaford and Littaford Tors. Features stretch in a in a 950 metre long north to south line on a moderate west slope under coarse grass, bilberry, heather and bracken with varying amounts of natural clitter. Viewed in conjunction with sites SX 67 NW 58 and 97 to the south and SX 67 NW 90 and 115 to the north, which are in reality part of the same complex, the settlement string occupies a strip 1.4 kilometre long, clustered between the 390 and 440 metre contours with belts of thick clitter to the east and steeper rocky slopes of Wistman's Wood to the west.
There is no pattern whatsoever: the remains represent probably many years of development and change. About two thirds of the hut circles are free-standing; the remainder are contiguous with inside enclosures or attached to field walls. Most are small averaging 3.5 metres diameter internally, within a range of 2-4 metres. Only two are larger at 5.5 and 7.5 metres. Their walling shows little evidence of structure; only eleven huts preserve occasional, internal, edging slabs. Most have rubble banks, partly vegetation covered, constructed of medium and large-size stones gathered locally. Eleven incorporate in-situ boulders or outcrops. Wall width averages 1.25 metres and height 0.4 metres. Entrances are visible in fourteen huts and possibly in another twenty; nearly all lie in a southerly position between SSW and SSE, opening along the contour. Flanking stones are rare. There are two pairs of conjoined hut circles and a further pair set very close together. Two square structures were noted and a small number of huts are deliberately oval in plan. Overall, preservation is fair to good.
Five enclosures A, D, F, G and H, are fairly complete, varying in size between 0.05 and 0.15 hectares. Three others B, C and E are of similar size and combine lengths of true walling and cleared patches in the clitter. In most cases the walling is piled medium and large stones, often linking or incorporating natural boulders but there are occasional orthostatic and edge set stones, with D alone preserving a short length of double faced walling along its west side. Average wall width is 1.5 metres and height 0.4 metres.
In plan two enclosures are irregular pentagons A and D; the remainder are sub-circular or sub-oval. Increasingly towards the south half the site, short and apparently isolated lengths of walling occur and with progress towards site SX 67 NW 58, this begins to look like further enclosures and probably fields centred SX 6135 7677- possibly rectilinear but insufficient remains to the certain. A long north to south wall at SX 6140 7686 appears to mark an east edge though isolated fragments occur beyond.
In general where hut circles and enclosures are associated, huts are on the periphery, giving emphasis to the importance of the central space. In three enclosures A,D and F, the diverging angles at which the enclosure walls meet and leave huts make it probable that the huts were built earlier. A small number of huts are associated with short lengths of enclosure/field walls.
The current survey and recording action incorporates features previously recorded as SX 67 NW 97; this includes enclosure H with two hut circles close together previously shown as a sub-divided rectangular structure (1979 OS card SX67SW81). It also includes 'field system' previously recorded as SX 67 NW 91.
'Ring cairns' described in source (SMR Devon CC Sheet SX67NW/63 a) Ancient Monuments visit 05-OCT-1972) are in fact hut circles.
Hut circles shown by source (1979 OS card SX67SW81) at SX 6130 7728, 6126 7745, 6123 7716 and 6134 7673 could not be found and a hut at SX 6137 7728 is misplaced 20 metres too far east; It is actually at SX 6139 7727.
The settlement complex is shown partly by the Royal Commission APP (1985) and is clearly visible on APs (NMR APs, various dates)
This record also incorporates the field SX 67 NW 91 to the east.
A table of further information on the settlement is held in the archive.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 60-61, Map 29, Figure 29.1 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Settlement at 'Littaford Tors West' covers an extensive area of 80 hut circles and 18 small enclosures below Littaford and Longaford Tors and sndwiched beween two belts of 'clitter'. About half the huts are free standing with the rest being built around the edge of the enclosures which in some cases is simply a 'clitter' barrier. A rabbit warren was established in 1865 and at least 26 'buries' are interspersed amidst the huts and on the hillside above. The foundations of the warren house and garden can be seen at the north end of the settlement.

Ancient Monuments, 2003, Schedule note (Schedule Document). SDV249651.

(12/03/2003) SX 6136 7718; SX 6157 7741; SX 6155 7709; SX 6153 7702: Bronze Age settlement, field system and post medieval rabbit warren located south of Longaford Tor overlooking the West Dart River. The stone hut circle settlement includes at least 101 stone hut circles which survive as banks or walls each surrounding a circular internal area. There are examples of orthostatic, rubble bank and coursed walling present. At least 49 circles have visible doorways and one has the remains of a porch, while another has a partition and attached to one is a courtyard.
This settlement was later incorporated into a rabbit warren. There are at least 32 pillow mounds and a warrener's house. The surviving mounds are rectangular, square, circular or oblong in shape. Many are flat topped and surrounded on 3 sides by a ditch. The 2 mounds nearest Littaford Tors are much longer than the others.
SX 6116 7779: Warrener's house includes 2 separate rectangular earthwork buildings within a rectangular enclosure. Possibly established in 1895 and abandoned pre 1914. Some of the mounds may belong to an earlier undocumented warren.
Scheduled.

Historic England, 2022, National Heritage List for England, 1029876 (National Heritage List for England). SDV364675.

This monument, which falls into four separate areas of protection, includes a prehistoric settlement, field system and rabbit warren situated on the west facing slopes of Longaford and Littaford Tors, overlooking the West Dart River. The stone hut circle settlement includes at least 101 stone hut circles, which survive as banks or walls each surrounding a circular or oval internal area which varies from 3.14 square metres to 52 square metres. The surrounding walls vary between 0.25 metres and 1.2 metres in height. The hut walls vary considerably in character, with examples of orthostatic, rubble bank and coursed walling all present. At least 49 of the stone hut circles have visible doorways, 28 are linked to rubble walling, one has a porch, another a partition and attached to one is a courtyard. The huts are arranged along the contour, extend over 1400 metres from north to south and are associated with several lengths of rubble walling, enclosures and fields. In later years, much of the prehistoric settlement was incorporated into a rabbit warren. The warren survives on the western slopes of Longaford and Littaford Tors and includes at least 32 pillow mounds and a warreners' house. The pillow mounds survive as rectangular, square, circular or oblong mounds many of which are flat-topped and surrounded on three sides by a ditch from which material was quarried during their construction. The two pillow mounds near Littaford Tors are much longer than the others, measuring 54 metres and 107 metres long, whilst the others are between 4 metres and 13 metres long standing between 0.6 metres and 1.2 metres high. The warreners' house at NGR SX61167779 includes two separate rectangular earthwork buildings within a rectangular enclosure. A warren is known to have been established in this area in 1895 by James Saltroun of Powder Mills and was abandoned sometime before 1914. Some of the pillow mounds may however belong to an earlier undocumented warren.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV219155Monograph: Butler, J.. 1991. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North. Two. Paperback Volume. 60-61, Map 29, Figure 29.1.
SDV225229Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1964. RAF 58/6399. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 032-33.
SDV231306Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX67NW97. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. SX67NW97.
SDV249643Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 1972. Schedule note. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV249650Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX67NW81. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV249651Schedule Document: Ancient Monuments. 2003. Schedule note. The Schedule of Monuments. Unknown.
SDV249653Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1969. SX6176. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 1/37-41.
SDV262885Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. SF1509. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 278-284.
SDV270537Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1978. SX67NW91. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index. SX67NW91?.
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.
SDV345762Un-published: Robinson, R.. 1983. List of Field Monument Warden Visits 1983. Lists of Field Monument Warden Visits. Printout.
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. P. Pattison.
SDV364675National Heritage List for England: Historic England. 2022. National Heritage List for England. Digital. 1029876.

Associated Monuments

MDV5851Parent of: Hut circle settlement west of Wistman's Wood (Monument)
MDV66098Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66099Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66101Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66106Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66107Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66109Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66111Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66112Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66113Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66114Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66115Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66116Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66118Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66119Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66120Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66121Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66122Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66123Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66124Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66125Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66126Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66128Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66129Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66130Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66131Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66132Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66133Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66134Parent of: Hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66055Parent of: Hut circle, 540m south west of Longaford Tor (Monument)
MDV28598Parent of: Huts and fragmentary fields 350m south-west of Longaford Tor (Monument)
MDV66110Parent of: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66127Parent of: Possible hut circle within extensive settlement west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV5896Parent of: Settlement south-west of Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV5964Parent of: Settlement south-west of Longaford Tor (Monument)
MDV66095Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66096Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66097Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66100Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66103Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66104Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66105Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66108Related to: Pillow mound within rabbit warren to the west of Longaford and Littaford Tors, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV66074Related to: Prehistoric field system 610m south of Longaford Tor (Monument)
MDV14156Related to: RABBIT WARREN in the Parish of Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV52783Related to: Stone mounds in settlement east of Wistman's Wood, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8644 - Cherrybrook and Longford Newtake, Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project
  • EDV8423 - Duchy Farms Project

Date Last Edited:Jul 26 2022 12:00PM