Higher White Tor

WPHigher White Tor stone row

Copyright: Bill Radcliffe.

Location

England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 61917 78362     Lat 50.58854867   Long -3.95208274

 

Higher White Tor Plan

Simplified plan of the Higher White Tor alignment. (Source: Butler, J. 1991).

Characteristics

Type: Double Length: 95.4m
No. of stones: 36 Size of stones: Small and medium
Orientation: 14° Altitude: 493m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  –
Notes: Upper length of the row is orientated at 12° and the lower part at 17°.  The row changes orientation at SX 61905 78312.

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.

Photographs

View from the north east (Scale 1m).

View from north east with Longaford Tor in the background.

Looking south along the row.

A double row. View from the north east (Scale 1m).

A pair of stones forming either side of the row. View from south looking towards Higher White Tor on the skyline (Scale 1m).

The upper length of the row. View from the north east.

Looking north along the row.  The row is aligned on Higher White Tor, but stops a long way short (Scale 1m). 

The row leading up the hillside towards Higher White Tor. View from south.

Landscape Reveals

A number of landscape reveals were noted during the field visit. Weather conditions meant that there was reasonable visibility although the humid conditions meant that views beyond about 20km were obscured. Future fieldwork is therefore likely to considerably enhance our understanding.

View from Bottom of row at SX61894 78253. 

There are extensive views from the stone row, but those to the west and south west are worth looking at. At the bottom of the row the nearby Longaford Tor together with a pronounced notch are clearly visible, whilst the Beardown Tors are partially blocked by the near hill slope. Most significantly only the very top of Great Mis Tor is visible. The end of the row denotes the limit of visibility. Visual relationships of this type are a common feature of stone rows and this cumulative evidence strongly suggests that many rows were carefully positioned to take cognisance of this sort of visual inter-relationship.

Great Mis Tor is only just visible from the bottom (southern end) of the row. The precision of this relationship provides further compelling evidence for visual links between stone rows and the landscapes in which they were erected.

View from row at SX 61895 78262

As one walks up along the row the Beardown Tors and Great Mis Tor slowly emerge from behind the near hill slope and at this point Lydford Tor suddenly appears.

View from row at SX 61904 78309

The tors are now clearly visible from this point on the row. 

At this point for the first time land becomes visible within the Longaford Tor notch. On particularly clear days a view of the distant sea may also appear within this notch.

View from top of row at SX 61917 78362

At the top of the row North Hessary Tor appears from behind Longaford Tor. Both ends of the row are therefore denoted by limits of visibility to two separate tors. At the bottom Great Mis Tor is at the limit of visibility whilst at the top it is North Hessary Tor. The precision of these landscape reveals makes them unlikely to be a coincidence and it is more likely that the row was positioned carefully to ensure that these particular visual “treats” were incorporated.  The emergence of the Beardown Tors and the Lydford Tor reveal may also have been of significance to the row builders.

From the top of the row the Longaford Tor notch is now filled with land, possibly topped by a slither of sea.

Access Information

Car parking is available at SX 63757 77614. From here head a short distance along the B3212 towards Postbridge before crossing the road to join the Lychway. Follow the Lychway to SX 61805 77646 and then head towards Higher White Tor.

Acknowledgements

Janet Daynes and Gordon Fisher provided considerable help with the fieldwork.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     PastScape     Historic Environment Record

Prehistoric Monuments of Dartmoor     Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks

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. 215.

Butler, J., 1991, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities – Vol. 2 – The North, Devon Books Exeter, pgs.65-66.

%d bloggers like this: