MDE1259 - Prehistoric stone setting below Cheriton Ridge (Monument)


A prehistoric stone setting possibly originally comprised four irregular rows of four stones. Six upright slabs, five stumps and five recumbent stones were recorded in 1974.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SS 7540 4351) Stones (NAT). [1] Cheriton Ridge, near Farley Water, Longitude 3 degs. 46' 57"; Latitude 51 degs. 10' 30". Shown on the Ordnance Survey, this is a very irregular stone assemblage (see plan). [2] This setting does not seem to be in Grinsell's list. [3] SS 7540 4331. Since 1905 a number of the stones have been removed and the setting now comprises six upright slabs, five stumps and five recumbent stones. The heights vary from ground level to 0.6 metres. Although somewhat irregular it seems possible that the setting originally consisted of sixteen or twenty five stones set in roughly parallel rows. Surveyed at 1:2500 (see also illustration survey). [4] Centred at SS 7541 4330 is a squarish stone setting with sides of 17 metres by 16.5 metres, originally perhaps four slightly irregular rows of four stones. It is now represented by eight upright and five fallen or displaced stones, and two sets of probable triggers or packing stones. All the stones are of sandstone type, in a geological area of Hangman Grits. The setting lies on a shelf, on the north-east side and below the crest of a long narrow spur, and close to the lip of the steep sided valley of Farley water. While the stones are in a patch of close cropped grass the surrounding area is of coarse molinia. Views are restricted to the north and north-west but encompass at least two other settings one on Pig Hill and the other on Clannon Ball (MDE9885 and MDE1262). Stones recorded by Chanter and Worth [2] were identified, but not in the condition they were planned. One which was then upright is now displaced, and of three which they had apparently `restored', two are again prone. While the rows may be perceived as either northwest to southeast or northeast to southwest, individual stones may not conform. There are ten firmly embedded stones, including slab triggers which probably indicate direction. Six stones (B, H, K, L, M and P) take the northwest to southeast alignment; two (C and D) are set northeast to westnorthwest. A further table of information on the stones is held in the archive. [5,6] A condition survey of the setting was carried out in 2003. Stone D is loose possibly due to it's use as a rubbing post. The stone is in an active erosion hollow, 1.5 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres deep. Stone P is loose and in an active erosion hollow 1.3 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres deep. Stone A is stable but in an active erosion hollow 1.6 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres deep. There is another large stone that has not been previously recorded. It is most likely a packing stone but may be a displaced standing stone. Stone B is stable but in an active erosion hollow 1 metre in diameter and 0.1 metres deep. Stone K is stable but in an active erosion hollow 0.7 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres deep. Stone L is in an active erosion hollow 0.1 metres in diameter and 0.2 metres deep. The stone has been used as a rubbing post. Stone M has a small stablilized erosion hollow, 1 metre in diameter and 0.2 metres deep. Stone F has been moved, only a stump remains. It was recorded as recumbent in in 1988. Stones C and E are recumbent. There is no change to these stones since 1988. Stone G only has a stump remaining. It is unclear how recent this damage occurred as the 1988 survey does not give the height of this stone. Stones N, H and J appear to be stable and have no changes. The site has an number of animal tracks across it. Sheep have been the main damaging to the stone setting. [8] The site was subject to a further survey in 2012 and it was noted the area was generally under threat from animal use, with several stones suffering from rubbing. Two stones could not be located (E and N). Stone C was noted to be very loose and stone M also appeared to have recently lost a trigger stone. [9] The site is a large stone setting arranged in a 4x4 or 4x5 grid, situated on the eastern side of Cheriton Ridge opposite Clannon Ball and overlooking Farley Water. As there are numerous smallerstones exposed, counting the stones can be quite confusing, however, 15 stones are convincing of which 7 (Stones A, B1, D, M1, K, L, and P) remain upright or leaning. The rest are recumbent, buried, or trigger stones. The site appears to have been tampered with historically, Stone B2 and C may well have once been upright or broken off sections of stone, though in the case of Stone C the lack of lichen suggests it has been moved in recent memory. Furthermore, Stones J1 and J2, form an odd spread, and could either be natural or misplaced. Despite the historic interference, the overall condition of the site is good, with little change since the last survey in 2012, and a brief visit in 2014. Stone E remains missing, and could easily be buried. The most recent damage is the fresh loss of material from the tip of Stone C. Stone C also appears to have been moved deliberately, further evidenced by the lack of lichen growth, suggesting human or vehicle interference. Continued animal rubbing (noted by Slater) continues on many of the stones, with the addition of stone P and N, however, all stones are still firm in their sockets. A major concern for this site is the use of off-road vehicles on Cheriton Ridge, and the lack of Scheduled protection awarded to this unique stone setting. [10] The site was surveyed as part of an academic research project by Dr Sandy Gerrard in 2018. Surveys were conducted using a prismatic compass and electronic distance device with the plan being generated in the field. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1896. County Series, First Edition 6 Inch Map. 1:10560. 1891.
  • <2> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F. + Worth, R.H.. 1905. The Rude Stone Monuments of Exmoor and its Borders. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 37. I. P. 396.
  • <3> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. P. 189.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 9 September 1974.
  • <5> Technical drawing: Quinnell, N.V.. 1988. Cheriton Ridge IV/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Quinnell, N.V.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, F1, 9 December 1988.
  • <7> Report: Quinnell, N.V. and 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.. Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England.
  • <8> Report: Dray, K.. 2003. A Condition Survey of Standing Stones on Badgworthy Land Company Owned Land, Exmoor. P. 22-23.
  • <9> Report: Slater, E.. 2012. A condition survey of standing stones on Badgworthy Land Company owned land, Exmoor National Park. p16-19.
  • <10>XY Report: Fuller, J.. 2018. Exmoor Prehistoric Standing Stone Condition Survey: 2017-2018. MDE1259. [Mapped features: #45296 Stone A., MDE1259; #45297 Stone B., MDE1259; #45298 Stone C., MDE1259; #45299 Stone D., MDE1259; #45300 Stone F., MDE1259; #45301 Stone G., MDE1259; #45302 Stone H., MDE1259; #45303 Stone J., MDE1259; #45304 Stone K., MDE1259; #45305 Stone L., MDE1259; #45306 Stone M., MDE1259; #45307 Stone O., MDE1259; #45308 Stone P., MDE1259; #45309 Stone R., MDE1259]
  • <11> Website: Gerrard, S.. 2020. The Stone Rows of Great Britain.
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35250, Extant 18 May 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7540 4332 (38m by 35m) (Surveyed)
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (5)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SE/9
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 7356
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 7357
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20194
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20195
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE15
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35250

Record last edited

May 18 2021 4:11PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.