MDE1311 - Prehistoric clearance cairns on Cheriton Ridge (Monument)


Four stony mounds, depicted as hut circles on the Ordnance Survey 25 inch map of 1890, are possibly clearance cairns of prehistoric date.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SS 74794333) Hut Circles (NR). [1] These are not hut circles but may be clearance heaps or other elements connected with settlement; three heaps each 10 feet in diameter and 1 foot high. [2] There are no traces of hut circles in this vicinity. Grinsells remarks are probably the best descriptions of these amorphous mounds but no fields are visible. [3] SS 7477 4333. Four stoney mounds, covered by heather, rough grass and bracken. Possibly stone clearance heaps.These four small cairns (A-D) appear to have been situated deliberately on a gentle sloping terrace, about 365 metres above ordnance datum on an otherwise fairly steep west facing slope on the west side of Cheriton Ridge overlooking Hoaroak Water. A. (SS 74783 43338) is 3 metres north to south by 2.5 metres and 0.5 metres maximum hieght. An earthfast stone about 0.5 metres long in the south-west may be a natural boulder on which the cairn has been based as it is larger than the other stones. B. (SS 74765 43330) is 3 metres north to south by 2.6 metres and 0.5 metres high. A few slablike stones, the largest of any of the cairn stones, appear to have been deliberately laid radially around the downhill south-west side, as opposed to being randomly dumped. Two stones are displaced to the south-west C. (SS 74792 43335) the smallest and least impressive of the group covered by heather and bracken is about 2.5 metres in diameter by 0.3 metres high. D. (SS 74761 43339) is about 2.4 metres north to south by 2.2 metres and 0.6 metres high. It is constructed of quite large stones (in proportion to the cairn), one of which is displaced to the immediate southwest. This mound is not shown on the 1890 [4] Ordnance Survey map.The purpose and origin of these small cairns is uncertain. They are not hut circles as annotated on the 1890 [4] Ordnance Survey map and seem too irregular, small and untypical to be prehistoric sepulchral cairns. They are not of industrial or modern origin. They are possibly clearance heaps, perhaps prehistoric in date, though there is no evidence of any associated fields, walling, lynchets, etc, in the vicinity. (There is a possible Stone Setting (MDE12899) only 40 metres up the slope to the northeast and a prehistoric cairn (MDE1308) some 220 metres to the north-north-west). Surveyed at 1:2500. [5] Four small stony mounds lie at the south end of the medieval field system on the west side of Cheriton Ridge (MDE20820). They are clearance cairns and date from the medieval period when the fields were first enclosed, or from the post-medieval period when some of the fields were periodically cultivated for an arable crop. [6] The features are depicted on the 2021 MasterMap data, but are not labelled. [7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, 17 September 1974.
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890, Devon 7(10).
  • <5> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 15 September 1994.
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Hoaroak Valley: Historic landscape survey and analysis. 33.
  • <7>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped features: #47071 ; #47072 ; #47073 ; #47074 ]
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35445, Extant 12 January 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 7477 4333 (36m by 15m) (4 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74SW/60
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12270
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20344
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW41
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35445

Record last edited

Jan 12 2022 2:44PM


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