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HER Number:MDV5968
Name:Beardown Warren, Dartmoor Forest


Rabbit warren containing Over 40 pillow mounds to the west of Beardown Farm. Also known as Bray's Warren. Mounds vary in size but are mostly all aligned with the direction of the natural slope.


Grid Reference:SX 600 754
Map Sheet:SX67NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67NW/95
  • Old SAM Ref: 34473
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • RABBIT WARREN (Early Medieval to XXI - 1066 AD to 2009 AD (Between))

Full description

LINEHAN, CITED BY OS, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247456.

Rabbit warren containing 25 pillow mounds was seen on air photographs of beardown, lydford (linehan, cited by os).

OS, CITING HAYNES, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247457.

Enclosed in or about 1780 by the rev. E. A. Bray, possesses a rabbit warren where historic evidence and the absence of stone-built vermin traps suggest a 19th. Century origin (os, citing haynes).

NMR CITING OS, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV247460.

Vis=5/3/1980 (os) beardown warren centred at sx600755 has 41 ditched and stone revetted pillow mounds, all but one of which are enclosed within a stone wall and the majority more or less aligned with the slope. They vary in size but average 9.5m long, 2.0m wide and 0.9m high with a ditch 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep. An exception is one mound, segmented into 5 parts, with a total length of 54.0m (nmr citing os).

NMR CITING HEMERY, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247461.

Bear down warren mentioned in 1808 lease (nmr citing hemery).

NMR CITING PROBERT 1988, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247463.

With three exceptions 5, 23 and 35, the mounds are linear and often possess sharply defined squared ends. Their tops are either rounded or flattened though no 37 displays a sharply pointed crest. Where disturbed the mounds exhibit a loosely packed boulder base beneath an apparently stone free peat cap. The vast majority are from 5.4 to 16m long, 2.2 to 5.0m wide and 0.5 to 1.0m high. Most have a continuous drainage ditch, 1.0 to 2.9m wide and 0.2 to 0.5m deep. Three sub-circular features no`s 5, 23 and 35, probably represent disturbed linear or round pillow mounds, though they may be heaps of construction material. A small rectangular platform, 4.2m e-w by 3.1m n-s, is visible at sx6015475536, near the n boundary of the warren. This may have formed the base for a wooden structure used to store nets, traps etc. The e half of the warren is traversed by 4 drainage on average 1.2m wide and 0.3m deep. One of these has been obstructed by mound 37. A buried pipe, diverting the devonport leat runs roughly ne-sw across the e area to an aqueduct at sx60067539. Three of the mounds 19,22 and 26 overly field boundaries which are probably associated with the earliest field pattern of beardown farm. The first reference to beardown warren is contained in a duchy of cornwall lease of 1808 and it seems likely that it was established early in the farm's history. The number of pillow mounds, which undoubtedly increased over the years, points to the warren fulfilling a commercial role. Supplying meat for the local population. The dockyard at devonport and after 1809 the prisoners of war at princetown would also have created markets for beardown rabbit (nmr citing probert 1988).

AM, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV247464.

Vis=est -/-/2002 (ancient monuments) rabbit warren 410m west and 310m northwest of beardown farm. At least 50 pillow mounds, with all but one lying to south of devonport leat.2.3m to 54m long, averaging 9.38m long.0.5m to 1m high. Most surrounded by ditch. Earliest reference in a duchy lease of 1808. Nearby prison may have been the primary market (am).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247465.

Worth, r. H. /dartmoor/(1953)440.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247466.

Linehan, c. D. /medieval archaeology/10(1966)124.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247467.

Haynes, r. G. /post-medieval archaeology/4(1970)164.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV247468.

Aph=58 raf 4424 173 may 1961.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV247469.

Aph=raf/cpe/uk 2149 4386-7 june 1947.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247470.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247471.

Probert, s. /in bowden, m. + mackay, d. + topping, p. /from cornwall to caithness/bar 209/(1989)229-33/beardown warren, princetown, dartmoor.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247472.

Des=duchy of cornwall/(1808)/lease of 528 acres to james mason.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247473.

Des=duchy of cornwall/(1818)/map of freehold + early enclosures on dartmoor.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247474.

Des=duchy of cornwall/(1835)/lease of 1203 acres to edward atkyns bray.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247475.

Hemery, e. /high dartmoor/(1983).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247476.

Marshall, w. /royal economy of the west of england/(1970 reprint of 1796 edn).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247477.

Des=probert, s. A. J. /(31/8/1988)/rchme field investigation.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV247478.

Des=ancient monuments/(-/-/2004)/as above.

RCHM, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV7666.

Vis=31/8/1988 (rchm) beardown warren centred at sx60007552. Occupies 3.8ha and contains 50 pillow mounds, mostly aligned with the generally s facing slope. All but one of the mounds 50 in all, are enclosed by drystone walls, with the cowsic river on the s and w, a moorland stream on the e and a now abandoned section of the devonport leat to the n.

Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England, 1985, Aerial Photograph Project (Interpretation). SDV319854.

Group of pillow mounds on south-west slope of Beardown Hill between the Devonport Leat and the Cowsic River. 16 mounds visible.

Agricultural Development Advisory Service, 1988, Beardown Farm, Princetown, Yelverton, Devon, 24, Map D (Report - Assessment). SDV355062.

Beardown Warren, also known as Bray's Warren, is situated above the Cowsic River on a south-facing slope. The warren contains 50 stone-revetted pillow mounds which have ditches around their upper ends. Sizes vary, but on average they measure 9.3 metres long, 3 metres wide and 0.7 metres high; one mound, made up of five segments has a total length of 54 metres. The majority are aligned with the direction of the natural slope.

Probert, S., 1989, Beardown Warren, Princetown, Dartmoor, 229-233 (Article in Monograph). SDV232550.

National Monuments Record, 2010, Untitled Source (National Monuments Record Database). SDV214864.

Beardown warren was probably established late 18c - early 19c, and was a recognised feature by 1808.4.2 ha. Lies on s-facing slope above n bank of cowsic river, and is bisected by an early turf + stone bank and completely enclosed by a later drystone wall. Rchm survey revealed 50 pillow mounds, all but one within an "island" created by post-1794 remodelling. Evenly distributed and aligned against contours. All but 3 are linear with well defined square ends. Tops rounded or, less commonly, flattened - one with sharply pointed crest. Most possess a drainage ditch. Three overlie boundaries of the early beardown farm layout. Not shown on 1839 tm, nor mentioned in 1835 lease. Hemery claims it had a sporting use but this is unlikely at this early date (probert).

Ordnance Survey, 2013, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV350786.

Over 40 pillow mounds are depicted on the modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV214864National Monuments Record Database: National Monuments Record. 2010. National Monuments Record Database. Website.
SDV232550Article in Monograph: Probert, S.. 1989. Beardown Warren, Princetown, Dartmoor. From Cornwall to Caithness. A5 Paperback. 229-233.
SDV247456Migrated Record: LINEHAN, CITED BY OS.
SDV247457Migrated Record: OS, CITING HAYNES.
SDV247460Report - Survey: NMR CITING OS.
SDV247461Migrated Record: NMR CITING HEMERY.
SDV247463Migrated Record: NMR CITING PROBERT 1988.
SDV247464Report - Survey: AM.
SDV247465Migrated Record:
SDV247466Migrated Record:
SDV247467Migrated Record:
SDV247468Aerial Photograph:
SDV247469Aerial Photograph:
SDV247470Migrated Record:
SDV247471Migrated Record:
SDV247472Migrated Record:
SDV247473Migrated Record:
SDV247474Migrated Record:
SDV247475Migrated Record:
SDV247476Migrated Record:
SDV247477Migrated Record:
SDV247478Migrated Record:
SDV319854Interpretation: Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England. 1985. Aerial Photograph Project. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Aerial Photograph P. Cartographic.
SDV350786Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2013. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #96471 ]
SDV355062Report - Assessment: Agricultural Development Advisory Service. 1988. Beardown Farm, Princetown, Yelverton, Devon. ADAS. A3 Comb Bound. 24, Map D.
SDV7666Migrated Record: RCHM.

Associated Monuments

MDV27091Parent of: Single pillow mound north of the Devonport Leat at Beardown Warren (Monument)
MDV62520Related to: Aqueduct west of Beardown Farm (Monument)
MDV50894Related to: Beardown Farm, Lydford (Monument)
MDV27244Related to: Field system surrounding Beardown Farm (Monument)
MDV57560Related to: Ridge and furrow west of Beardown Farm (Monument)
MDV27095Related to: Streamworks? (Monument)
MDV19902Related to: The Devonport Leat, Dartmoor (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7431 - Woodland Survey (1989-90) at Bellever, Soussons and other woodland parcels

Date Last Edited:Jun 12 2018 4:28PM