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HER Number:MDV6626
Name:Hut circle 260 metres north-west of Metherall Farm, Fernworthy Reservoir


Hut circle adjacent to the pond. One of the northern circles of the group at Metherall, Fernworthy Reservoir, four huts of which are now submerged, following the construction of the reservoir in the mid 20th century. Some of the hut circles have been reused as farm buildings over time and two have certainly been used as tinner's workshops or stores in the 16th century. The hut was excavated by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in the mid-1930s in advance of construction of the reservoir. Although it was not to be submerged it was at threat from the adjacent quarry.


Grid Reference:SX 670 841
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishChagford
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCHAGFORD

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: SX68SE47
  • National Record of the Historic Environment: 443843
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/57/2
  • Old SAM Ref: 28752

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • HUT CIRCLE (Constructed, Bronze Age - 2200 BC (Between) to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Worth, R. H., 1935, 12th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 119-127, Figs. 9-24, Pl. 12-14 (Article in Serial). SDV259660.

Two hut circles in a group of hut circles on the edge of Fernworthy reservoir excavated by Worth. He called these two numbers 1 and 2 (sited at SX 67048417 and SX 67068413 respectively). Excavated August 1934.
Hut No 2 was 25 feet in internal diameter, badly disturbed by quarry-men. Lining slabs are unusually large, much disturbed by quarrymen. The entrance could not be ascertained. The floor is on calm. Finds: well worked flint spearhead, flint chips, a whet stone, early Bronze Age pottery, and charcoal. No hearth discovered.

Worth, R. H., 1945, The Dartmoor Hut Circles, 230-34,251-56, Pl. 11, 12 (Article in Serial). SDV246120.

Royal Air Force, 1947, RAF/CPE/UK/1995, 2361-2 (Aerial Photograph). SDV224714.

Hut circle visible on aerial photographs.

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, 1952, SX68SE47 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV259659.

Hut circle in good condition. Stone slab (length 3.66 metres, height 2.08 metres).

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

Visible and recorded from aerial photographs.

Griffith, F. M., 1985, DAP/EM, 7 (Aerial Photograph). SDV274678.

Gerrard, S., 1990-2002, Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset., MPP 152183 (Report - Survey). SDV277946.

(14/6/1999) Hut circle 325 metres north-west of Metherall. Diameter 7.6 metres, single orthostat wall width 1.7 metres. Internal area 45.34 square metres. Composed of huge orthostats. A very substantial hut which illustrates clearly the size of stones that could be used for construction. Information board and path adjacent to the site. Grass, gorse, ferns, bracken and a rowan tree in the north wall.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Volume Two - The North, 155-6, Fig. 35.1 (Monograph). SDV219155.

Hut circle 2 on Butler’s map. Some of the wall stones of this circle, which measures 7.7 metres in diameter are particularly massive, measuring 3.7 metres in length and standing around 2.0 metres high. A flint spear head and a hammer or whetstone were found, together with some Bronze Age pottery sherds and a scatter of charcoal.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Hut circle is depicted on the modern digital mapping.

English Heritage, 2011, National Heritage List for England (National Heritage List for England). SDV347072.

The four stone hut circles and associated boundary walls south east of Fernworthy Reservoir, 250 meters north-west of Metherall are amongst the most visually impressive on Dartmoor. With walls standing up to 1.8 meters high the true scale and impressive character of Bronze Age domestic architecture can be easily appreciated.
The monument, which falls into four areas of protection, includes four substantial stone hut circles and associated boundary walls situated on a gentle north-west facing slope overlooking Fernworthy Reservoir. The stone hut circles survive as circular walls each surrounding an internal area which varies from 45 square meters to 57 square meters. The heights of the surrounding walls vary between 1.1 meters and 1.8 meters. Two of the huts have visible doorways and one has a porch.
The two northernmost huts were excavated between 1934 and 1936 by Worth. In this hut a flint spear head, a hammer stone and a few sherds of Bronze Age pottery were found. A 1.5 meters wide, gravel covered path known as Potter's Way cuts through part of the monument. The surface of this path is excluded from the scheduling, but the ground below is included Other details: SAM ID: 28752.

Newman, P., 2013, The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads, 9, Figs. 5, 7, 18 (Report - Survey). SDV356884.

Hut excavated by Worth in advance of the reservoir although it remains well above the water line. Worth commented in his report that it had been disturbed by quarrymen and therefore he probably felt justified in excavating it even though it would not be submerged. In addition the hut was under threat from a granite quarry, a source of stones for the dam, only metres to the east.
The hut is located at the foot of an artificial ramp created by the imposition of a trackway to serve the quarry. Fortunately the hut appears to have been mostly avoided by the dumping of waste material from the quarry, although the north-east sector of the wall is partially buried. Only a few of the original wall slabs remain in situ and these are quite massive, including a triangular slab over 1.7 metres high. The internal diameter of the hut circle is about 7.3 metres.

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. 155-6, Fig. 35.1.
SDV224714Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1947. RAF/CPE/UK/1995. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 2361-2.
SDV246120Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1945. The Dartmoor Hut Circles. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 77. A5 Hardback. 230-34,251-56, Pl. 11, 12.
SDV259659Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. 1952. SX68SE47. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV259660Article in Serial: Worth, R. H.. 1935. 12th Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 67. Photocopy. 119-127, Figs. 9-24, Pl. 12-14.
SDV274678Aerial Photograph: Griffith, F. M.. 1985. DAP/EM. Devon Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). 7.
SDV277946Report - Survey: Gerrard, S.. 1990-2002. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset.. Mixed Archive Material + Digital. MPP 152183.
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.
SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #98061 ]
SDV347072National Heritage List for England: English Heritage. 2011. National Heritage List for England. Website.
SDV356884Report - Survey: Newman, P.. 2013. The Archaeology of Fernworthy Forest, Dartmoor, Devon. Supplement. The Lakeside Area and Lowton Farmsteads. South-West Landscape Investigations. A4 Comb Bound. 9, Figs. 5, 7, 18.

Associated Monuments

MDV107529Part of: Metherall Hut Settlement, Chagford (Monument)

Associated Finds

  • FDV5901 - FLAKE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)
  • FDV5899 - SHERD (Early Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 1501 BC)
  • FDV5898 - SPEARHEAD (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)
  • FDV5900 - WHETSTONE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC?)

Associated Events

  • EDV6533 - Archaeological Survey of South-West Lakeside Trust Land around Fernworthy Reservoir
  • EDV8515 - Excavation of huts, Chagford

Date Last Edited:Apr 12 2022 11:03AM