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HER Number:MDV6641
Name:Grimspound enclosure wall, Manaton


This granite-built prehistoric enclosure is in the form of an irregular quadrilateral with curved sides and rounded angles with 24 hut circles within the pound. Within the guardianship area managed by Dartmoor National Park Authority.


Grid Reference:SX 699 808
Map Sheet:SX68SE
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishManaton
Ecclesiastical ParishMANATON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX68SE/69
  • Old SAM County Ref: 142
  • Old SAM Ref Revised: 22212

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • ENCLOSURE (Bronze Age - 2200 BC to 701 BC (Between))

Full description

Whiteley, N., 1855, Untitled Source (Personal Comment). SDV304180.

Entrance paved with granite blocks 1 to 3 feet (0.30 – 0.90 meters) square for a length of 18 yards (16.5 meters). Other details: Plan.

Wilkinson, J. G., 1861, On Ancient British Walls, 5 (Article in Serial). SDV304172.

Wilkinson notes the massiveness of the granite blocks used to form the walls and comments on the manner in which they were laid. Other details: Plate 2.

Baring Gould, S., 1895, Second Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee, 82-83 (Article in Serial). SDV271711.

Wall examined in 11 different places. Found that the wall was originally two walls with a space between. In places there seemed to be an inner face on both sides to this space. Admission into this passage was probably obtained by small openings from inside the pound. Two found. The doorway in each case seemed to be in connection with the walls of the lunettes which abutted on the main wall below them. The doors are narrow, tops ruinous. No trace of a core of earth between the two walls. Walls not high enough for fortification, probably an enclosure for cattle. Situated in an indefensible position. Excavations 1894-1895 produced nothing dateable.

Worth, R. H., 1953, Dartmoor, 106-111, 141-144, 150-153 (Monograph). SDV231148.

Enclosure walls ruinous, originally composed of stones, some set on edge, others laid in courses. Other details: Figs 18-21, 37.

Ordnance Survey, 1953, SX78SW11 (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV304167.

Grimspound. This is an irregular quadrilateral with curved sides and rounded angles. There are 24 hut circles within the pound, none in the vicinity. There is a trace of a catch-water gutter to the south of the entrance. The entrances in the west and east walls are mere gaps with no side walls and are recent. The pound was built so as to enclose part of the stream, Grims Lake. Bronze Age. Other details: Plan.

Pattison, P., 1991, A Survey of Grimspound, Manaton Parish, Devon, 1-9 (Report - Survey). SDV304224.

Surveyed by the Royal Commission for the Historic Monuments in England in 1991. Enclosure originally comprised stone wall enclosing ovoid area of approximately 1.45 hectares. Circuit has three main curving sections on the north-west, north-east and southern sides. To the north of Grims Lake the north-west section lies below a slight ridge, the south of which appears to have been cut back to accommodate it, producing a length of ditch alongside it. Wall faced internally and externally with large granite blocks and slabs, set in rough horizontal courses and, occasionally standing on edge. The faces survive intermittently among a jumbled bank of stone resulting from collapse or erosion of the original structure. The original wall width varies between 2.5 meters to 3.5 meters and it survives in places to a height of 1.25 meters. At the north-east corner remains of a probable culvert are discernible, which channelled Grims Lake under the wall. The core of the wall was probably rubble, though possibly earth and stone. Internal construction is probably best preserved in the south-east section. The survey identified two small shelters post-dating enclosure wall. Some reconstruction of the wall was carried out in the early 19th century. 16 of the 24 hut circles were excavated in 1894 (see related monuments). Parts of five pens are built against the west interior face, the function of which is unknown, may have been animal pens of post-prehistoric date. Other details: RCHME.

Gerrard, S., 1995, 140322 (Site Visit). SDV321021.

Enclosure survives as a stone and earth wall measuring between 2.5 meters and 3.5 meters wide, standing up to 1.25 meters high, surrounding an internal ovoid area of 1.45 hectares. The original entrance cuts through the south-east side of the enclosure wall and survives as a 2.0 meter wide gap flanked by walls standing up to 2.0 meters high. The north side wall is a continuous face formed by two massive edge set slabs, with a boulder balanced on top and coursed walling of smaller stones to each side of the slabs. The south face survives as large horizontally laid slabs. The entrance was reconstructed following excavation by the Dartmoor Exploration Committee in 1894. The ground within the entrance passage and the area immediately outside is roughly paved. The 1894 excavations carried out within the entrance revealed three steps in the paving leading down to the lower interior. Two other breaches in the enclosure wall are probably not original features and instead relate to the bridle path which cuts through the enclosure.
Enclosure appears to have been sited to take advantage of the Grims Lake stream which flows through the northern part of the enclosure and which was allowed access through a purpose built culvert. In addition to the 24 hut circles, low rubble banks defining at least four small internal paddocks or garden plots survive against the west wall of the enclosure. A small number of lynchets also survive within the enclosure and may represent the remains of stock control boundaries. Descriptions of individual huts on related monument records.

Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage, 2008, Grimspound: A Prehistoric Settlement, 1-24 (Leaflet). SDV344709.

Prehistoric enclosed settlement with a substantial granite surrounding wall, containing 24 hut circles, as well as several ‘pens’ built into the enclosure wall. The impressive external wall now survives to an average height of 1.5 meters and consists of a tumbled mass of stone between 5 and 9 meters wide with its entrance to the south east. This wall was constructed as two concentric rings of stone, possibly filled with stone, rubble and earth, the width of these two walls varied between 2.5 meters and 3.5 meters. The original height of the wall is estimated to have been around 1.7 meters, which rules out the potential for this to have been a defensible site.

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

Sources / Further Reading

SDV231148Monograph: Worth, R. H.. 1953. Dartmoor. Dartmoor. Hardback Volume. 106-111, 141-144, 150-153.
SDV271711Article in Serial: Baring Gould, S.. 1895. Second Report of the Dartmoor Exploration Committee. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 27. Digital. 82-83.
SDV304167Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey. 1953. SX78SW11.
SDV304172Article in Serial: Wilkinson, J. G.. 1861. On Ancient British Walls. Journal of the British Archaeological Association. 17. 5.
SDV304180Personal Comment: Whiteley, N.. 1855.
SDV304224Report - Survey: Pattison, P.. 1991. A Survey of Grimspound, Manaton Parish, Devon. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 1-9.
SDV321021Site Visit: Gerrard, S.. 1995. 140322. Monument Protection Programme. Archaeological Item Dataset..
SDV344030Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2010. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #98127 ]
SDV344709Leaflet: Dartmoor National Park + English Heritage. 2008. Grimspound: A Prehistoric Settlement. A5 Stapled. 1-24.

Associated Monuments

MDV8779Parent of: Grimspound enclosure entranceway, Manaton (Monument)
MDV8778Part of: Grimspound enclosed settlement, Manaton (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:Jun 6 2017 3:40PM