Historic Environment Record images

MSO8682 - Withypool Stone Circle, Withypool Hill

ENPHER Number:MSO8682
Name:Withypool Stone Circle, Withypool Hill
Type of Record:Monument
Grid Reference:SS 8382 3431
Parish:WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

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Summary

The remains of a stone circle on the southwest slope of Withypool Hill. It is alleged that it once consisted of 100 stones, but survey in 1989 revealed 27 upright stones and 3 fallen ones. The diameter of the circle is approximately 36 metres.

Images

Stone 1 from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 1 from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 11 from the south, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 11 from the south, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 14 from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 14 from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 22 from the southeast, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 22 from the southeast, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 27 from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 27 from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 2 from the east, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 2 from the east, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 30 from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 30 from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 32 from the southwest, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 32 from the southwest, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 8 from the north, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stone 8 from the north, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stones 6 and from the west, 2009  © Exmoor National Park Authority

Stones 6 and from the west, 2009 © Exmoor National Park Authority

Monument Types

  • STONE CIRCLE (Late Neolithic to Late Bronze Age - 2350 BC to 701 BC (Unclassified))

Designated Status

  • Scheduled Monument 1021261: Stone circle on Withypool Hill 670m ESE of Portford Bridge

Description

A stone circle, with a diameter of 40 yards, is located on the southwest slope of Withypoole Hill, 733 yards eastsoutheast of Portford Bridge. [1]

The remains consist of 37 stones, 3.5 feet apart, but formerly there were circa 100. [2]

The remains consist of 29 earthfast stones set as the circumference of a true circle. The largest stone is 0.7 metres long by 0.2 metres thick, and stands 0.5 metres above the ground, but the majority of the others are considerably smaller. There is no trace of a bank, ditch, or any other feature associated with the stones. Surveyed at 1:2500. [3]

The Stone Circle is located at SS 8383 3430. [4]

The Withypool stone circle, which was first known and surveyed in 1906, proved to be 120 feet in diameter. Thirty seven stones remained at the time of survey, with many gaps; however, if the stones were at an average distance of 3.5 feet apart, then there were originally nearly 100 stones. The average height of the existing stones was only 1.03 feet, the highest being 2 feet. [8]

The stone circle, located at SS 837 342, Withypool Hill, is scheduled. [9]

The area was swaled in 1978. 29 stones remain intact - stones 13, 17, 25 and 33 were missing (numbered on Gray's plan), stone 3 was broken at ground level, stones 19, 37 and 23 were split, the latter into 3. This reflects natural erosion rather than deliberate vandalism. [10]

Stones vary in height from 0.075 metres to 0.4 metres, some being hardly visible. There are 25 embedded stones, and also some loose ones filling the gaps. There is a small pile of stones (modern) in the centre. [11]

The remains of a stone circle at SS 8383 3430, measuring 36 metres in diameter, are located on a moderate southwest facing slope at about 385 metres Ordnance Datum, on the southwest side of Withypool Hill. The area, predominantly heather, has been recently swaled so the stones were clearly visible (see plan at 1:100). It was first described by St George Gray in 1906. Thirty seven stones out of a possible original total of about 100, were planned. Twentynine were recorded in 1965 and again in 1978. In 1989, 27 earthfast uprights and three fallen stones were identified by RCHME. Stone 20a may simply be a residual packing stone. The majority of the uprights are about 0.1 metres high, 0.3 metres wide and 0.1 metre thick, with some very small exceptions; stone 26, for example, measures only 0.01 metre high, 0.17 metres wide and 0.02 metres thick. Only four are reasonably large; 2,12,15 and 24 and are about 0.5 metres high, 0.6 metres wide and 0.2 metres thick.
The RCHME plan follows the numbering on the 1906 survey, thus indicating former stones, such as 16 and 17, which are now lost.
On the early plan, two unnumbered hollows were shown at 2a and 31a; they are no longer visible. [14,15]

The remains of a stone circle standing on the southwest slope of Withypool Hill, at SS 8382 3431, is scheduled. It is alleged that the circle once consisted of about 100 stones, but it now consists of around 25 upright stones and several fallen ones, which remain close to their original positions. The stones average 0.5 metres high, 0.4 metres wide and 0.2 metres thick. The overall diameter of the circle is approximately 36 metres with a circumference of about 115 metres. [16]

Twenty seven earthfast uprights and three fallen stones were identified in 1989. The majority of the uprights are c0.1 metres high with some smaller; four are reasonably large, c0.5 metres high. [17]

In private ownership. [18]

Considering their dimensions it is perhaps unsurprising that the stones of the Withypool Hill stone circle are not visible on aerial photographs. However, the site can be easily seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards due to the footpath encircling the site and hollows around several of the stones, eroded by visitors to the site and livestock using the stone settings as rubbing posts. Hints of shadows within these hollows may be cast by the larger stones or simply the hollows indicating their former locations. The eroded path is up to 40 metres in diameter and over 120 metres in circumference. [19-25]

The Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009 gave the site a survival score of 11. [27]

The monument has suffered damage due to the development of an unoffical bridleway through the centre of the circle. [28]

The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. It was given a survival score of 12. [29]


Blaylock, S., 2018, Withypool Stone Circle, Withypool Hill, Exmoor: Recording, monitoring and conservation works 2017-2018 (Report). SEM8534.


<1> Gray, H.St.G, 1906, The Stone Circles of the British Isles, P.43-50, Plan (Article in serial). SSO1205.


<2> Pevsner, N., 1958, The Buildings of England: South and West Somerset, P.350 (Monograph). SMO5711.


<3> PITCHER, GHP, Field Investigators Comments, Ordnance Survey visit, 1 September 1965 (Unpublished document). SMO7319.


<4> Ordnance Survey, 1962, 6 Inch Map: 1962 (Map). SEM7220.


<5> Walker, J.W., 1916-17, Magna, P.5, appendix (Article in serial). SMO5345.


<6> Burl, A., 1976, The Stone Circles of the British Isles, P.300-301, 347, 348 (Monograph). SMO4084.


<7> Dobson, D.P., 1931, The Archaeology of Somerset, P.60 (Monograph). SSO1046.


<8> Gray, H.St.G., 1950, Porlock Stone Circle, 87 (Article in serial). SEM7618.


<9> English Heritage, 1913-, Schedule of Monuments, Department of Environment, Ancient Monuments of England 2. 1978. P.119 (Index). SSO410.


<10> Oral Information or Staff Comments, I Burrow, Somerset County Council, 6 December 1987 (Verbal communication). SMO5308.


<11> Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission, Field Monument Warden Report (Report). SSO1247.


<12> Western Archaeological Trust, 1980s, Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey, 8334 (Survey). SSO708.


<13> Fowler, M.J.F., 1988/1989, The Standing Stones of Exmoor: A Provisional Catalogue of 62 West Somerset Sites, P.1-13 (Withypool 1) (Article in serial). SMO5660.


<14> Sainsbury, I.S.S, Field Investigators Comments, RCHME Field Investigation, 6 January 1989 (Unpublished document). SMO7324.


<15> Withypool Hill Stone Circle Ink Survey (Survey). SMO5507.


<16> Scheduled Monument Notification , 24 February 2004 (Index). SMO4073.


<17> Quinnell, N.V. + Dunn, C.J., 1992, Lithic Monuments within the Exmoor National Park: A New Survey for Management Purposes by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England., SS83SW1, P.68 (Monograph). SMO5658.


<18> Oral Information or Staff Comments, Somerset County Council Planning (Verbal communication). SMO5308.


<19> 2007-2009, Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW (Archive). SMO7580.


<20> Royal Air Force, 1946 -1948, Vertical Aerial Photography, RAF 160G/UK/1655 (F20) 3295-6 (11 July 1946) (Aerial photograph). SEM6707.


<21> Royal Air Force, 1946 -1948, Vertical Aerial Photography, RAF LHL CPE.UK.1980 3363 (April 1947) (Aerial photograph). SEM6707.


<22> Oblique Aerial Photograph, HSL.UK.71-178 Run 83 9309 (September 1971) (Aerial photograph). SMO4069.


<23> Meridian Air Maps, 1977-1978, Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography, 12.080 (May 1977) (Aerial photograph). SEM7408.


<24> Oblique Aerial Photograph, NMR SS/8334/5 (15885/30) (19 March 1998) (Aerial photograph). SMO4069.


<25> Oblique Aerial Photograph, NMR SS/8334/1 (18009/16) (19 March 1998) (Aerial photograph). SMO4069.


<26> Bray, L.S., 2008, Withypool Stone Circle (Report). SEM6698.


<27> Bray, L.S., 2010, Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park (Report). SEM7402.


<28> Exmoor National Park Authority, 2009, Monument Management Scheme: 2008-9 Report, P. 6 (Report). SEM7897.


<29> Gent, T. and Manning, P., 2015, Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015 - Draft (Report). SEM8278.

Related Pages

Other References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO129
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11731
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SW1
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35802
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): SOMER 36
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 34299
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35720
Date Last Edited:Feb 12 2018 1:37PM

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