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HER Number:MDV9570
Name:Field System on Walls Hill


A field system of possible prehistoric date is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards and images derived from Lidar data, as a fragmentary arrangement of low earthwork banks distributed across Walls Hill. Discrete areas of ridge and furrow cultivation of possible medieval or post-medieval date are identifiable amongst the former field boundaries, as are several small mounds previously interpreted as clearance cairns.


Grid Reference:SX 932 650
Map Sheet:SX96NW
Civil ParishTorbay
Ecclesiastical ParishST.MARYCHURCH

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 447569
  • Old DCC SMR Ref: SX96NW/30
  • Torbay HER: MTO19210
  • Torbay HER: MTO9570

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Early Bronze Age to Late Medieval - 2200 BC to 1539 AD (Between))
  • RIDGE AND FURROW (Early Medieval to Post Medieval - 1066 AD to 1750 AD (Between))

Full description

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV1142.

Vis=5/8/1993 (smith) banks not easy to discern; those identified shown on sketch map (grass longer on n side of old wall). No cairns identified. Height of banks nowhere more than a few centimetres, indicated by slope between levels of adjacent fields (worksheet).

Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division, Untitled Source (Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card). SDV24.

Vis=14/9/1950(os) macenery's double entrenchments are curvilinear hollows which have an average depth of 1.5m and no trace of a rampart. The main earthworks on walls hill are the banks of an ancient field system. The downs are divided into two parts by an old rather ruinous stone wall. The banks run under the wall in a few places. Those on the n side are not so pronounced as those on the s side, nor are there so many preserved. Within the area of the field system are nine small mounds and two small shallow ditches (os).

GALLANT + LUXTON + COLLMAN, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV288111.

The plateau is divided into two by an intermittent boundary of varying width consisting of relics of a wall and stony bank, which runs nw from the cliff edge. North of the features recorded here a few others are clear enough to be measured, but at a distance in certain light conditions there is a strong impression of further field banks continuing far to the north. In the tithe apportionment of st. Marychurch it was under grass, but adjacent land was either gardens or arable. By 1890 a rifle range was installed south of the dividing line and by 1904 a golf course existed north of the line according to the os 25" maps. By 1950 these had disappeared. Today it is a pleasure ground. It is occasionally cropped by sheep and is subject to continuous slow erosion by human feet (gallant + luxton + collman).

Pengelly, W., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV30961.

Field system on walls hill. A 'camp' described here by mcenery (pengelly).

TIMMS ET AL, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV318031.

Vis=5/9/1981(timms et al) site is public open space in ownership of borough council and heavily used by the public. Banks and cairns clearly visible under grass but elsewhere obscured by bushes. No sign of site management, but no obvious erosion problems either.

OSA SX96NW19, Untitled Source (Report - Survey). SDV318032.

Vis=17/11/1952 (os) this 'camp' suggested by pengelly is badley sited defensively. The earthworks and hollows may be the result of medieval quarrying.(osa sx96nw19).

BLEWITT, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318033.

Arable cultivation is evidenced by ridge and furrow, particularly at the s of the site. The area was also under plough at the end of the 18th century.(blewitt).

WESTWELL, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318035.

Area of downland c.30 acres. Sketch map divides it into three areas: 'a' has clear evidence of field boundaries and cairns; 'b' also has evidence for these but not so pronounced; 'c' contains naturally occurring 'trough' on n-s axis, c.50ft below adjacent plateau. Areas 'a' + 'b' closely match farm boundaries shown on tithe map. Very little excavation has been carried out at wall's hill and finds from c18 excavation cannot be traced. In c19, two 24-pounder guns installed for 4th devon artillery battery. Site currently designated on sssi (westwell).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318037.

Pengelley, w. /tda/6(1873)65-6/anstey's cove, torquay.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318038.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318039.

Stanes, r. G. F. /tda/96(1964)73/open field agriculture in south devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318040.

Pengelly, w. /tda/6(1873)65-68/the literature on the cavern at anstey's cove, torquay.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318041.

Des=gallant, l. /list of field systems/(15/11/1980)in ipplepen parish file.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318042.

Silvester, r. J. /pdas/38(1980)43-44/the prehistoric settlement at dainton, south devon.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318043.

Des=timms, s. C. /as above.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV318044.

Aph=west air photography z705.2/(nd)oblique/in smr.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318045.

Blewitt, o. /panorama of torquay/(1832).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318046.

Gallant, l. + luxton, n. + collman, m. /43(1985)30/ancient fields on the south devon limestone plateau/fig5.

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV318047.

Aph=dap/cl 4a,5,6(17/7/1984).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318048.


Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318049.

Des=tithe map and apportionment of st. Marychurch/(1841).

Untitled Source (Aerial Photograph). SDV318050.

Aph=dap/hj 12-15/(21/12/1986).

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318051.

Des=westwell, j. P. /report(undated)/in pf.

Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV318052.

Des=smith, c. /worksheet/(23/9/1993).

Stanes, R. G. F., Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV39898.

Possible open field cultivation (stanes).

GALLANT, Untitled Source (Migrated Record). SDV943.

One of a group of 13 possible prehistoric field systems which have been identified on the limestone in south devon. Approx 5.5 hectares in extent (gallant).

Royal Air Force, 1946, RAF/CPE/UK/1890, RAF/CPE/UK/1890 4231-4232 10-DEC-1946 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351061.

The field system is visible as low earthwork banks.

Silvester, R. J., 1977, Earthwork (Worksheet). SDV8568.

Field system of similar type to dainton (see sx86ne/37). To the south of the stone wall which bisects it are at least nine fields and eight cairns. Visible remains are slighter to north of wall. Finds from c19 excavations (pengelly) cannot be traced (silvester).

Ordnance Survey, 1988, OS/88198, OS/88198 166-167 25-JUN-1988 (Aerial Photograph). SDV352243.

The field system earthwork banks are clearly visible but appear somewhat eroded.

Environment Agency, 1998-2012, Lidar data JPEG SX96SW DTM (Cartographic). SDV352291.

Channel Coast Observatory, 2001-2012, Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography, Channel Coastal Observatory SX9365_20120918ortho.ecw 18-SEP-2012 (Aerial Photograph). SDV351226.

The field system earthwork banks are faintly visible but the ridge and furrow is clearly defined and appears to be in reasonable condition.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV1142Migrated Record:
SDV24Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Card. Card Index.
SDV288111Migrated Record: GALLANT + LUXTON + COLLMAN.
SDV30961Migrated Record: Pengelly, W..
SDV318031Report - Survey: TIMMS ET AL.
SDV318032Report - Survey: OSA SX96NW19.
SDV318033Migrated Record: BLEWITT.
SDV318035Migrated Record: WESTWELL.
SDV318037Migrated Record:
SDV318038Migrated Record:
SDV318039Migrated Record:
SDV318040Migrated Record:
SDV318041Migrated Record:
SDV318042Migrated Record:
SDV318043Migrated Record:
SDV318044Aerial Photograph:
SDV318045Migrated Record:
SDV318046Migrated Record:
SDV318047Aerial Photograph:
SDV318048Migrated Record:
SDV318049Migrated Record:
SDV318050Aerial Photograph:
SDV318051Migrated Record:
SDV318052Migrated Record:
SDV351061Aerial Photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946. RAF/CPE/UK/1890. Royal Air Force Aerial Photograph. Photograph (Paper). RAF/CPE/UK/1890 4231-4232 10-DEC-1946.
SDV351226Aerial Photograph: Channel Coast Observatory. 2001-2012. Channel Coast Observatory Aerial Photography. Channel Coast Observatory. Digital. Channel Coastal Observatory SX9365_20120918ortho.ecw 18-SEP-2012.
SDV352243Aerial Photograph: Ordnance Survey. 1988. OS/88198. Ordnance Survey. Photograph (Paper). OS/88198 166-167 25-JUN-1988.
SDV352291Cartographic: Environment Agency. 1998-2012. Lidar data JPEG SX96SW DTM. Environment Agency LiDAR data. Digital.
SDV39898Migrated Record: Stanes, R. G. F..
SDV8568Worksheet: Silvester, R. J.. 1977. Earthwork. Worksheet + Digital.
SDV943Migrated Record: GALLANT.

Associated Monuments

MDV19210Related to: FIELD SYSTEM in the Parish of (Monument)

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events: none recorded

Date Last Edited:May 11 2017 12:00AM