Scheduled Monument: Stone circle on Badgworthy Lees
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
14 January 1970
Date last amended
10 November 2015
Summary of Monument
A stone setting at Badgworthy Lees, 2600m ESE of Dry Bridge.
Reasons for Designation
Exmoor is the most easterly of the three main upland areas in the south western peninsula of England. In contrast to the others, Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor, there has been no history of antiquarian research and little excavation of its monuments. However, detailed survey work by the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England has confirmed a comparable richness of archaeological remains, with evidence of human exploitation and occupation from the Mesolithic period to the present day. Many of the field monuments surviving on Exmoor date from the later prehistoric period. Examples include burial mounds (`barrows'), standing stones, stone alignments and stone settings. Stone settings are arrangements of small upright stones placed in roughly geometric patterns, many having a sophisticated layout. They are considered to be almost without parallel in Britain and Ireland. Stone settings were being constructed and used from the Late Neolithic period to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000BC) and provide rare evidence of ceremonial and ritual practices during these periods. Due to their rarity and longevity as a monument type, all surviving examples are considered to be of national importance.
The stone setting at Badgworthy Lees, 2600m ESE of Dry Bridge, survives comparatively well and many more of the stones may in fact be submerged in peat and thus not visible. It is also associated with further standing stones and a cairn to the west and lies in an isolated but quite prominent location between two watercourses. Its rarity as a monument class means such features are not always understood, but many do seem to have had a ritual function. For this reason the archaeological and environmental evidence associated with such a setting could provide vital evidence relating to its construction, function and landscape context.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 10 November 2015. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes a stone setting at Badgeworthy Lees situated close to the summit of a hill which forms the watershed between the Withycombe Ridge Water and the Hoccombe Combe. The stone setting survives as two upright stone slabs measuring 0.4m and 0.6m high set approximately 1.7m apart with a third partially concealed stone 0.8m to the east.
Other archaeological remains in the immediate vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
PastScape Monument No:-35272
National Grid Reference: SS 78452 44686