Brent Fore Hill

Stones forming part of the alignment. Corringdon Ball chambered cairn stands behind on the horizon. View from south west (Scale 1m).

A double stone row measuring 120m long, including at least 32 small and medium-sized stones situated on a south facing slope with a sea view reveal. The row is orientated north east to south west and there is a kerbed cairn at the upper north eastern end. A gap between the visible end of the row and kerbed cairn maybe the result of robbing but is more likely to be an original feature. The row stands near a long cairn, three stone rows, several round cairns, prehistoric settlements and field systems.

Location

England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 66848 61345     Lat 50.436812    Long -3.8763352

Map showing the location of Brent Fore Hill stone row.

Simplified plan of Brent Fore Hill stone alignment (Source: Butler, J., 1993).

Characteristics

Type: Double Length: 120m
No. of stones: 32 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 54° Altitude: 316m
Upper end: Cairn Lower end:  –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context: Cairns, stone alignments and chambered cairn
Notes Butler believes that the row probably originally extended as far the cairn (Butler, J, 1993, 94). Without excavation it is not possible to confirm or refute this position.  It is however perhaps worth mentioning that there are several rows which appear to aim at a cairn but never reach it.  Amongst these are Holne Ridge, North, Yar Tor, Madacombe and Bryn-y-Maen.  It seems too frequent an occurrence to simply be the result of selective robbing of the stones nearest the cairn and might suggest deliberation.  Excavation will one day hopefully resolve this situation, but in the meantime there is the real possibility that some rows did not reach their “target” cairn. 

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: National Park
Scheduled Ancient Monument: Yes

Identification

Category: Plausible. No doubts have been expressed regarding the prehistoric interpretation of this row.


Typology

This stone row is of Type D10. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


Photographs

9th June 2013

The Corringdon Ball chambered cairn is in a prominent sky line location along much of the row.

Looking along the row. View from the north (Scale 1m).

Looking north eastward up the row. The ranging rod stands in the gap between the rows (Scale 1m).

10th September 2019

Since the site was first visited in 2013 the gorse has been cleared revealing the true character of the row. This visit confirmed the nature of the sea view reveals originally identified on Heywhatsthat and Google Earth.

View from the hill west of the row (Scale: a sheep)

In the area (SX 66748 61280) to the south west of the row as depicted by Butler there are a number of flat slabs which could be evidence that the row once extended further down the slope. View from the north east.

A linear cluster of stones around SX 66748 61280 could indicate that the row was originally longer and may extended as far as the nearby stream.

Stone row at SX 66758 61286. View from south west (Scale 1m).

Stone row at SX 66765 61289. View from south west.

Row SX 66778 61299 highlighting the visual relationship with the cairn on Piles Hill at SX 65324 60847. View from north east (Scale 1m). The row is built across the line of visibility to the cairn which is only visible from the upper part of the stone row.

The cairn on Piles Hill disappears a short distance south west of SX 66754 61285.

Stone row at SX 66800 61316. View from south west.

Stone row at SX 66787 61307. View from the north east (Scale 1m).

Stone row at SX 66800 61316. View from north east (Scale 1m).

The upper length of surviving stones at SX 66808 61322. The far stone looks like a blocking stone which would imply that the row stopped at this spot rather than continuing to the cairn 44m away. It has always been assumed that the row would have originally extended as far as the cairn, but this may not have been the case.

Possible blocking stone at the upper end of the row. View from north east.

A blocking stone at the upper end of a row is unusual but examples are also known at Black Tor, Stanlake, Cosdon and Merrivale 2.

The Corringdon Ball chambered cairn appears on the skyline as the “top” of the row is approached.

Corringdon Ball chambered cairn viewed from the top of the alignment. Interestingly the cairn is blocking the sea view at this point. If the cairn had not been built the sea would visible from the top of the row. The precision of this visual relationship is so precise as to suggest deliberation.  The sea view does not appear until after a few metres.

The sea is visible from the spot where the ranging rod stands, but would have been visible from the stones if the chambered cairn had not been built.

View from ranging rod in previous photograph shows the sea peeking out from the side of Corringdon Ball chambered cairn.

A zoomed in version of the previous photographs shows the distant sea.

Brent Fore Hill stone row in the foreground overlooks the rows at Corringdon Ball. 

The cairn upon which the row is aligned. View from south west.

View from the cairn associated with the row highlighting the extensive but distant sea views.

Landmark Reveals

Simplified map highlighting those areas (blue) which are visible from the lower end of the row but are not visible from the top (red). Source Heywhatsthat.com

The viewshed (blue) from the bottom of the row is very limited compared to that from the top. Despite this a large number of cairns are located at the limit of visibility and indeed the cairns at Three Barrows which are visible from the bottom disappear as you walk up the row.  Only the cairn at Sharp Tor and the stone alignment at Piles Hill are not visible from the bottom and these appear as you walk up the row. The cairns at Ugborough Beacon, Spurrell’s Cross, Glasscombe Ball are all at the limit of visibility along the row and the nearby Corringdon Ball chambered cairn is prominent throughout. The stone row has a number of clearly defined visual links with broadly contemporary archaeological remains in the vicinity and the way in which many are revealed whilst walking along the row is consistent with the finding from other rows. The consistency of this phenomenon strongly supports the idea that the rows were carefully placed within the landscape to specifically refer to other special places. The way in which these special places are revealed along the length of the row is particularly noteworthy and suggestive of deliberation.

 

Access Information

Car parking is available at SX 68060 62906. Walk south along the public highway to SX 67931 62316. From here follow the footpath up the hill onto the open moorland.


Online Resources

Megalithic Portal     PastScape     Historic Environment Record

Prehistoric Monuments of Dartmoor     Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks     Sea Views

Other References

Burl, A., 1993, From Carnac to Callanish – The prehistoric rows and avenues of Britain, Ireland and Brittany, Yale University Press, New York and London, pg. 214.

Butler, J., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities – Vol. 4 – The South-East, Devon Books Exeter, pg. 94.


Timeline

VISITED:- 9th June 2013 and 10th September 2019

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 15th January 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 16th January 2020

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