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HER Number:MDV6215
Name:Partially enclosed settlement north-east of Moorlands Farm, Dartmoor Forest

Summary

Partially enclosed settlement comprises at least six hut circles and an associated field system covering seven hectares north-east of Moorlands Farm. This site is on the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.

Location

Grid Reference:SX 629 736
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Earthworks and walls of a Bronze Age hut circle settlement and field system in bend of West Dart River to north-east of Moorlands Farm

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW2
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/2
  • Pastscape: 443238
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Constructed, Early Bronze Age to Late Iron Age - 2200 BC to 42 AD (Between))

Full description

Royal Air Force, RAF/V588510, 8510? (Aerial Photograph). SDV234380.

Other details: (pt 2)32.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/2149, 4429-30 (Aerial Photograph). SDV282746.

Fox, A., 1969, Swincombe Survey, 19 (Report - Survey). SDV250998.

A group three circular huts, diameters 15.5 feet (4.72 meters), 18 feet (5.49 meters), 19 feet (5.79 meters), with associated fields, mainly rectilinear.

National Monuments Record, 1969 - 1976, NMR SX6373, 2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV234379.

National Monuments Record, 1979, NMR SF1133, 334-5 (Aerial Photograph). SDV234381.

Hemery, E., 1983, High Dartmoor, 464 (Monograph). SDV249702.

On the north of a walled part of the Sherberton track, there is an arrangement of set stones suggestive of a stone circle remnant; nearby is a curious relic consisting of two very short and converging single stone rows, one housing six members, and the other seven.

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

Twelve hut circles (five of them freestanding) are visible in an agglomerated field system. The field system has at least twelve elements.

Fletcher, M. J., 1988, Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England (Report - Survey). SDV214888.

A well defined prehistoric settlement and field system centred at SX63007366 occupies approximately 7 hectares of gently rounded north-facing spur. The site lies between 314 meters and 331 meters above sea level and is covered by rough moorland pasture with scattered patches of clitter and large boulders. It is delimited to the north by the wide and sinuous West Dart River, to the east by the narrow valley of the Rue Lake Stream with its extensive linear streamworking sites and to the west by steep slopes and a rather insignificant stream. A linear drystone wall which crosses the neck of the spur may mark the southern extent of the site although it is possible that any prehistoric field boundaries in this area would have been stripped out and the stones used as material for this wall.
Parts of the field system have been almost completely covered by blanket peat especially on the upper east-facing hillslope where most of the boundaries are traceable only by the tips of boulders protruding through the turf or by vague linear channels which form on the lower site of the buried features. It is not unreasonable to suggest that some boundaries and possibly habitation sites have been completely submerged under the peat layer. Evidence of stone splitting, especially in the area centred at SX630977370, may point to the destruction of some prehistoric features on the site.
Five, possibly six, habitation sites are identifiable; two are apparently freestanding and the remainder are linked to or incorporated in field boundaries.
The fields are of a fairly uniform size and have accreted from a central core out across the top and upper slopes of the spur. The visible remains may not as suggested represent the complete field pattern which could be partially hidden under the peat layer. The evident field boundaries are traceable as narrow lines of both small and medium-sized boulders set mostly in a single row about 0.4 meters in height with the occasional orthostat or upright slab up to 0.7 meters in height incorporated on line. Large earth-fast boulders have been utilised where they occur on line especially in the scattered clitter spreads on the north slopes. Soil creep is evident on the steeper slopes; the stony lynchets, up to 0.6 meters in height, form part of the field boundaries on the north-west hillslope. Six large irregularly spaced boulders centred at SX62957370 apparently enclose an area about 11 meters across; this feature could possibly be a small enclosure or pound however it may simply be a fortuitous natural boulder group. Three isolated upright slabs at SX62847357, SX62927358 and SX62947358, each about 0.7 meters high, may mark the positions of stripped-out or buried field walls.
Of the 12 hut circles noted by the Royal Commission on the Historic Monuments in England Aerial Photograph Project six are listed in the report, the remainder are almost certainly not archaeological features. Five of these sites can be identified as either large isolated boulders or groups of small natural boulders and the sixth is a group of reeds.
The features noted by Hemery, are most probably elements of this settlement and field pattern although they were not positively identified on the ground.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 216, Map 63, Figure 63.3 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Seven or more fields at 'Moorlands Farm East' are bounded by single lines of slabs but with numerous gaps, thinning out near the later walls. Associated with these are the remains of four huts, three of them medium sized of 5.0 to 5.7 metres diameter and on smaller building of 3.9 metres diameter.

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.

Fields and hut circles shown on survey.

GeoInformation Group Ltd, 2010, 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution) (Aerial Photograph). SDV346026.

Some boundaries visible on aerial photograph.

National Monuments Record, 2020, Pastscape, 443238, SX67SW2 (Website). SDV363416.

Field Investigation on 14th February 1988. Centred at SX630736 is the remains of a system of irregular-shaped fields covering 6.0 hectares. The boulder walls measure 1.2 meters wide and 0.4 meters high and are visible over most of the north-facing hillslope. Only three free standing hut circles are visible, all in poor condition. Two are Type 2 and the other, at SX62937371, is a Type 1 and sub-divided. Their diameters vary from 4.5 meters to 6.4 meters, while the walling averages 1.0 meter thick and 0.3 meters high. Only one hut has an obvious entrance and that is to the south-east.
Field Investigation on 11th May 1988. Centred at SX 63007366. A well defined prehistoric settlement and field system occupies approximately 7 hectares of gently rounded north facing spur. The site lies between 314 metres and 331 metres OD and is covered by rough moorland pasture with scattered patches of clitter and large boulders. It is delimited to the north by the wide and sinuous West Dart River, to the east by the narrow valley of the Rue Lake stream with its extensive linear streamworking sites and to the west by steep slopes and a rather insignificant stream. A linear drystone wall which crosses the neck of the spur may mark the southern extent of the site although it is possible that any prehistoric field boundaries in this area would have been stripped out and the stones used as material for this wall. Parts of the field system have been almost completely covered by blanket peat especially on the upper east facing hillslope where most of the boundaries are traceable only by the tips of boulders protruding through the turf or by vague linear channels which form on the lower site of the buried features. It is not unreasonable to suggest that some boundaries and possibly habitation sites have been completely submerged under the peat layer. Evidence of stone splitting, especially in the area centred SX 630977370, may point to the destruction of some prehistoric features on the site.
Five, possibly six, habitation sites are identifiable; two are apparently freestanding and the remainder are linked to or incorpoated in field boundaries.
1. SX 63997371. A hut circle with an internal diameter of 4.0 metres is levelled into a north-west facing slope to a depth of 0.3 metres. The front scarp is a maximum 0.7 metres high and the ragged, possibly double-faced wall is about 0.9 metres wide and up to 0.5 metres high. The entrance on the south-east, uphill, side is marked by a 1.4 metre wide gap and 0.9 metres high orthostat. It is linked to a field wall.
2. SX 62977370. A hut circle with an internal diameter of 5.5 metres is levelled into a north-west facing slope to a depth of 0.3 metres. The front scarp is about 0.5 metres high and the double-faced wall of small and medium sized boulders is about 1.0 metre wide and 0.5 metres high. A 1.0 metre wide gap in the south-east, uphill, side may mark the position of the entrance. It is linked to field walls on three sides.
3. SX 62967366. A probable hut stance approximately 6.0 metres across is levelled into the north-west facing slope. A stony scarp, part of a field boundary, delimits the uphill side and a vague 0.3 metres high scarp marks the lower side. There is no trace of walling or the position of an entrance.
4. SX 62927371. A hut circle, apparently refashioned, is levelled into the north-west facing slope. The front and back scarps are both 0.5 metres high and the 0.5 metres high wall of small and medium sized boulders may have been double-faced. It is now probably a D-shaped feature measuring 5.0 metres by 3.5 metres internally but it was probably originally a cirular hut with a 5.0 metres internal diameter. The position of the entrance is not clear and the internal 'diagonal' wall is clearly a later, possibly recent addition.
5. SX 62907370. A hut circle covered be a thick peat layer with an internal diameter of circa 5.3 metres levelled into a north-west facing slope. The position of the entrance is not clear and the tips of the wall protrude through the turf to a height of 0.2 metres.
6. SX 62927378. A small rectangular feature attached to the lower side of a stony lynchet wall measures approximately 3.8 metres by 3.0 metres internally. The wall on three sides is composed of small and medium sized boulders and is up to 0.5 metres high; the downhill side is delimited by an 0.4 metres high scarp. It may be an occupation site but this classification is by no means certain.
The fields are of a fairly uniform size and have accreted from a central core out across the top and upper slopes of the spur. The visible remains may not as suggested represent the complete field pattern which could be partially hidden under the peat layer. The evident field boundaries are tracable as narrow lines of both small and medium-sized boulders set mostly in a single row about 0.4 metres in height with the occasional orthostat or upright slab up to 0.7 metres in height incorporated on line. Large earthfast boulders have been utilized where they occur on line especially in the scattered clitter spreads on the north slopes. Soil creep is evident on the steeper slopes; the stony lynchets, up to 0.6 metres in height, form part of the field boundaries on the north-west hillslope. Six large irregularly spaced boulders centred at SX 62957370 apparently enclose an area about 11.0 metres across; this feature could possibly be a small enclosure or pound however it may simply be a fortuitous natural boulder group. Three isolated upright slabs at SX 62847357, SX 62927358 and SX 62947358, each about 0.7 metres high, may mark the positions of stripped-out or buried field walls.

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

'Field System and Settlement' shown on modern mapping.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV214888Report - Survey: Fletcher, M. J.. 1988. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown.
SDV234379Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1969 - 1976. NMR SX6373. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2.
SDV234380Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. RAF/V588510. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Unknown. 8510?.
SDV234381Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1979. NMR SF1133. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 334-5.
SDV249702Monograph: Hemery, E.. 1983. High Dartmoor. High Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 464.
SDV250998Report - Survey: Fox, A.. 1969. Swincombe Survey. Unknown. 19.
SDV282746Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/2149. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 4429-30.
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.
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. 216, Map 63, Figure 63.3.
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. [Mapped feature: #128453 ]
SDV346026Aerial Photograph: GeoInformation Group Ltd. 2010. 1:625 2010 Colour (12.5cm resolution). 2010 Aerial Photographs. Digital.
SDV363416Website: National Monuments Record. 2020. Pastscape. https://www.pastscape.org.uk/. Website. 443238, SX67SW2.
SDV364015Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap 2021. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV54361Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Moorlands, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54362Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Moorlands, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54363Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Moorlands, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV78741Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Moorlands, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54364Parent of: Hut circle in settlement to the north-east of Moorlands, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54365Parent of: Possible building in settlement north-east of Moorlands Farm (Monument)
MDV6255Related to: Hut circle 190 metres north-east of Moorlands Farm, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV54479Related to: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Moorlands Farm (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded


Date Last Edited:Jan 21 2021 1:25PM