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HER Number:MDV6253
Name:Blackabrook, West Cist, Dartmoor Forest


Westernmost cist in a group of three north of the Blackbrook River. Referred to by the Ordnance Survey (1950 onwards) as cist 'B.' This reed-filled cist is approximately 1.0 metre by 0.7 metres and about 0.2 metres deep. Peat has accumulated around the sides of the slabs but a few stones evident on the south-west side may be part of a robbed cairn.


Grid Reference:SX 605 738
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Structural remains of a group of at least four prehistoric cists in an area of streamworking adjacent to the Blackbrook River

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX67SW18
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443283
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/21/1
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/21/3
  • Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division: SX67SW18
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • CIST (Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 4000 BC to 701 BC)

Full description

Burnard, R., 1890, Notes on Dartmoor Kistvaens, 203 (Article in Serial). SDV265355.

Prowse, A. B., 1901, The Antiquities of Ockery and Roundhill, Dartmoor, 496-7 (Article in Serial). SDV233834.

Worth, R. H., 1912, 31st Report of the Barrow Committee, 84, plate 3 / 4 (Article in Serial). SDV233835.

(Estimated 1911) The western most of the group of three. More ruined than the others. Eastern side has fallen out, southern end is disturbed and cover-stone is missing. There is a pit sunk in the floor.

Worth, R. H., 1925, 44th Report of the Barrow Committee, Plate 1, figure 2/3 (Article in Serial). SDV237295.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950/1980, SX67SW18, Cist 'B' (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV233931.

On the left bank of the Blackabrook, and lying south of Round Hill, just 18 feet from the river bank…, is a fine example, 4 feet long, 2 feet wide and 3 feet, 6 inches deep. The south end stone has been displaced for convenience in rifling; the other slabs are in position, the coverstone (5 feet by 4 feet) has been removed and is nesting on the western side of the cist. Ordnance Survey notes (04/09/1950) state; “This appears to be ‘A’.”
Twelve feet north is another kistvaen with two side stones in position but end stones broken and imperfect. This cist is almost buried. No trace of coverstone, circle or barrow. Ordnance Survey notes (04/09/1950) state; “? ‘B’.”
About 6 yards east of the last described is a very imperfect remnant of another kistvaen and about 12 feet in the same direction is a more perfect specimen with the vertical slabs standing, 3 feet long, 2.5 feet wide and 2 feet deep, lower stone has disappeared. [Citing Burnard, 1890].
Group of four kistvaens. (Description supplied but position of each not clear). [Citing Prowse, 1901]
(Visited 24/02/1950) Three cists each surrounded by numerous large stones. Capstone of C (southern) displaced: shape irregular, diameter 4 feet 6 inches, thickness 8 inches, depth of C 3 feet or more.
No signs of cist at 'B' (westernmost) where there ought to be one. No erosion in progress. I doubt if there were any more cists. Almost a circle of ruined cists; the river cuts off the south side. Nothing else like it in Dartmoor except Willings Wall Circle in the Plym Valley (Small sketch plan shows location of three cists: B is westernmost, C is southern and A is easternmost).
(Visited 04/09/1950) Kistvaen B. 20/6073/5286. Remains of kist. The two end stones and the west side stone are in position, but the east side stone has been forced, or has fallen outwards. No trace of coverstone. Length of cist 0.8 metres, width now 0.75 metres, depth 0.6 metres. The southern end stone leans slightly inwards. Poor condition. (Sketch plan (not to scale) included).
(18/01/1980) Close to the north bank of Blackbrook River are three cists aligned approximately north/south. The second (Blackbrook west), at SX 60517385, measures 1.2 metres by 1.0 metres and 0.4 metres deep and has no coverstone. A slope of 0.3 metres height edges the north and west sides. Surveyed at 1:10 000 and at 1:2500 for AO Records.

Grinsell, L. V., 1978, Dartmoor Barrows, 151, (Lydford 81) (Article in Serial). SDV273224.

(Visited 25/7/1976) SX6050 7386. Cairn enclosing cist placed south-east by north-west. Capstone missing. Diameter 3.5 metres, height 0.2 metres.

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

(11/02/1988) SX 60517385 (Blackbrook west). The reed-filled cist is approximately 1.0 metre by 0.7 metres and about 0.2 metres deep. Peat has accumulated around the sides of the slabs but a few stones evident on the south-west side may be part of a robbed cairn.
The fourth cist noted by Prowse was not identified.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Four - The South-East, 230-1, 249-50, Map 65.4 (Monograph). SDV337765.

Round Hill cist '2' at SX60517385. One of three cisted cairns sited along the riverbank; an unusual location, and positioned so close together that the original cairns much have almost touched one another. Little now remains of the covering mounds. Lies only 4 metres away from cist 1, this is the smallest and most badly damaged of the three; the side and end slabs are displaced outwards within a slight mound. Separating this from the eastern cist are a number of edge set stones which Burnard describes as 'the imperfect remnant of another (cist)', but Butler considers this to be unlikely, although they do appear to have been deliberately set like a short stone row.

Parks, D., 2017, Clarification of Blackbrook cist details (Un-published). SDV360093.

Blackbrook, West Cist (SX 60522 73867). Site visited 04/06/2016 and three cists photographed and located using Garmin GPS system. Photographs can be seen on Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks website: http://www.dartmoorwalks.org.uk/resource/search.php?OS=605738&Distance=0.25

Ordnance Survey, 2017, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV359962.

MasterMap shows a group of four cists at this location, the westernmost is shown at SX60517385. Has not been used to locate as the site has been more accurately mapped by GPS; see Parks, 2017.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV233834Article in Serial: Prowse, A. B.. 1901. The Antiquities of Ockery and Roundhill, Dartmoor. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 33. Unknown. 496-7.
SDV233835Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1912. 31st Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 44. Unknown. 84, plate 3 / 4.
SDV233931Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950/1980. SX67SW18. Oakford Archaeology. Card Index. Cist 'B'.
SDV237295Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1925. 44th Report of the Barrow Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 57. Unknown. Plate 1, figure 2/3.
SDV265355Article in Serial: Burnard, R.. 1890. Notes on Dartmoor Kistvaens. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 22. A5 Hardback. 203.
SDV273224Article in Serial: Grinsell, L. V.. 1978. Dartmoor Barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society. 36. A5 Paperback. 151, (Lydford 81).
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. 230-1, 249-50, Map 65.4.
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. M. J. Fletcher.
SDV359962Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2017. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey Digital Mapping. Digital. [Mapped feature: #129231 ]
SDV360093Un-published: Parks, D.. 2017. Clarification of Blackbrook cist details. Digital.

Associated Monuments

MDV6254Related to: Blackbrook, South Cist, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)
MDV6250Related to: Cairn circle 280 metres south of Roundhill Farm (Monument)
MDV6252Related to: Eastern Cist on north side of Blackbrook River, Dartmoor Forest (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV8627 - Roundhill Farm Duchy Farms Survey
  • EDV8409 - Dartmoor Royal Forest Project

Date Last Edited:Jun 17 2022 10:27AM