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HER Number:MDV6293
Name:Settlement 500 meters north-east of Swincombe water intake


Settlement comprising three hut circles and two, twin-celled ancillary structures situated against the south-west side of the Venford Reave. This site is on the local list of Nationally Important Dartmoor sites.


Grid Reference:SX 637 720
Map Sheet:SX67SW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status

  • SHINE: Central western section of the Bronze Age Venford Reave at Swincombe, with a number of attached hut circle settlements and enclosures, as well as an extensive Bronze Age field system, a cairn and a post-Medieval blowing house on Down Ridge

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 443304
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX67SW/51
  • SHINE Candidate (Yes)

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • UNENCLOSED HUT CIRCLE SETTLEMENT (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1950 - 1980, SX67SW25 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV234066.

Small enclosure with four hut circles in a fair condition. Wall consists of granite slabs many of which are partly buried, measuring on average 1.5 meters in width, and 0.5 meters in height. Another wall in much better general state of preservation joins the enclosure on the south-east and north-west sides - this appears to be an old ruined newtake wall and no hut circles were found to be associated with it (1950).
A reave, 280 meters long, makes an oblique descent on a north slope between SX63887201 and SX63647216, forming a boundary between clitter to the west and open moorland to the east. Fleming considers it part of the Venford Reave last traceable more than 1.0 kilometer to the east, but it may be only of local significance since it differs by having traces of field systems to each side. It is of rubble construction, incorporating large stones and in situ boulders and is from 1.0 meter to 2.4 meters wide and up to 0.9 meters high. In the southern half a single walled Type 1 hut at SX63807204 and a squarish yard or hut at SX63777206 are built onto the north-east face of the reave, 50 meters beyond at SX63727209 are two Type 1 huts which are on the alignment of the reave and evidently pre-date it but are associated with a small enclosure of 0.1 hectare. To the south-west are two other huts. The rubble walling of the huts averages 1.1 meters thick and 0.5 meters high but the internal diameters range considerably from 2.8 meters to 8.1 meters and, where visible the entrances are in the north-west and south-east. The reave continues for another 87 meters to the north-west and then abruptly diminishes towards a low wall of the field system (citing Ordnance Survey). (1980)

National Monuments Record, 1976, NMR SX6372, 3 (Aerial Photograph). SDV279433.

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

Three-sided enclosure visible attached to the Venford Reave, containing two hut circles, both of which are incorporated into the reave. Another hut circle is visible at SX63697250 but the fourth hut circle is not visible from the air.

Pattison, P., 1988, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV345866.

Settlement comprising three hut circles and two, twin-celled ancillary structures, together with four associated enclosures situated against the south-west side of the "Venford Reave" (SX 67 SE 96) at centre SX 63737207. It is sited on sloping ground amid medium to thick clitter which extends to the south-west. To the north-west the ground is open and contains extensive, prehistoric field system (SX 67 SW 180).
In plan the settlement appears of agglomerated form, growing from a base provided by the "Venford Reave" (SX 67 SE 96). Hut circle © possibly pre-dates the reave which follows around its north-eastern side but the relationship is not clear-cut: a hut circle built onto a linear feature of this sort potentially pushes the feature outwards or causes subsequent re-alignment. Hut circle (D) cannot be said to pre-date the reave; it lies against it.
All settlement structures are in marginal positions to the associated enclosures, either on the circuits or placed against them. It is possible that the three hut circles (A, C and D) were built prior to the enclosures whereas the twin-celled structures (B and E) are later. Each hut circle is possibly associated with one enclosure. The huts are well preserved and substantially built, probably being of general domestic use, whereas the twin-celled structures are smaller and slighter, possibly fulfilling different, more specific functions (agricultural/storage, perhaps). The enclosures are all quite small (largest is 0.25 hectares) and probably functioned as yards or pens, given the amount of clitter remaining within.
There are two further structures situated a little to the south-east which are possibly associated with this settlement. They are built onto the north side of the Venford Reave. The enclosure walling varies greatly in preservation. For the most part it consists of medium and large-size stones, occasionally incorporating natural boulders. In present form the walls appear as piled rubble banks at best 1.5 – 2.0 meters wide and 0.5 meters high but in places stripped to more intermittent lines approximately 0.8 meters wide and 0.3 meters high.

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 (Report - Survey). SDV345521.

Map object based on this Source.

Ordnance Survey, 2010, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV344030.

Map object based on this Source.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV234066Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1950 - 1980. SX67SW25. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV279433Aerial Photograph: National Monuments Record. 1976. NMR SX6372. National Monuments Record Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 3.
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.
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital).
SDV345444Un-published: Gerrard, S.. 2004. List of Sites Remaining to be Considered for Designation on Dartmoor. Digital.
SDV345521Report - Survey: English Heritage. 2005-2008. Prehistoric Survey Information. English Heritage. Digital.
SDV345866Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1988. Royal Commission for the Historical Monuments of England Field/Recording In. Unknown.

Associated Monuments

MDV6294Parent of: Enclosure within settlement north-east of Swincombe water intake (Monument)
MDV6296Parent of: Enclosure within settlement north-east of Swincombe water intake (Monument)
MDV6295Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Swincombe intake (Monument)
MDV6297Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Swincombe intake (Monument)
MDV6298Parent of: Hut circle in settlement north-east of Swincombe intake (Monument)
MDV6268Related to: Wheal Emma Leat (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV7062 - Survey of the Wheal Emma Leat, Dartmoor

Date Last Edited:Jun 17 2016 12:13PM