Little Links Tor

Little Links Tor Stone Row

Copyright: Bill Radcliffe.

Location

England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 54285 87463      Lat 50.668553   Long -4.063346

 

Plan of Little Links Tor stone row and adjacent enclosure (Source: Field survey at 1:500 by Janet Daynes, Gordon Fisher and Sandy Gerrard with additional details plotted from Bing Maps). 

Plan of Little Links Tor stone row.  Northern red stone probably upcast during construction of a leat that bisects the row and the southern red stone whilst clearly edge set has no obvious function (Source: Field survey at 1:500 by Janet Daynes, Gordon Fisher and Sandy Gerrard).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 74m
No. of stones: 5 Size of stones: Large and medium
Orientation: 99° Altitude: 401m
Upper end: – Lower end: –
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Prehistoric settlement
Notes:

Other Information

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

Identification

Category: Probable. The position and appearance of this line of stones is fully compatible with a prehistoric stone row interpretation. Most of the stones are upright, they form a row leading across the contour and have clearly definable visual links with prominent landscape features. The only reason for doubting a stone row interpretation is its association with a nearby Bronze Age enclosure. This relationship implies the possibility that the stones were erected to mark the position of a fresh enclosure which was never built. There are edge set stones in the nearby enclosure and therefore this interpretation cannot be entirely discounted and if proven would provide a valuable insight into the way in which prehistoric field walls were built. On the other hand the enclosure walls in the vicinity are mainly sinuous in character and much smaller than the one that would have resulted from this expansion. The stones themselves are also more typical in form to those found in a row rather than a boundary. On balance, whilst the uncertainty should be acknowledged the available evidence indicates that a stone row explanation is currently the most likely.

Photographs

View from east with stone 4 in the foreground.

View from south east with stone 4 in the foreground.

Looking west along the stone row with fallen broken stone 5 in the foreground.

View from south east with fallen broken stone 5 in the foreground.

View from north east with fallen broken stone 5 in the foreground and Great Nodden beyond.

Looking west along the stone row from above with fallen broken stone 5 in the foreground.

View from west with stone 1 in the foreground.

View from above and west with stone 1 in the foreground.

View from the north west with stone 1 in the foreground.

View from the north west with stone 1 in the foreground and Great Links Tor on the skyline.

Individual Stones

Stone 1

Stone 1. View from north west with Little and Great Links Tors beyond.

This stone measures 0.7m long by 0.20m wide, stands 0.65m high and is orientated at 100°.

The view from stone 1 places Brent Tor (SX 47084 80397) at the limit of visibility. 

Two steps to the west and Brent Tor is blocked from view by the imposing Great Nodden. This visual relationship strongly implies that the western end of the row was carefully picked by the row builders to provide a special visual link with Brent Tor.

Stone 2

Stone 2. View from north west of this nearly recumbent stone.

This stone measures 0.9m long by 0.40m wide, stands up to 0.3m high and is orientated at 100°.

View from stone 2. The views from the stone row are very restricted with distant views being available only to the south. As you walk up the row, the extent of distant views increases remarkably with Brent Tor moving towards the centre. 

Stone 3

Stone 3. View from north.

This stone measures 0.76m long by 0.23m wide, stands up to 0.61m high and is orientated at 107°.

View from stone 3. Brent Tor continues to move away from Great Nodden. Of course walking down the row Brent Tor appears to move ever closer to Great Nodden. Visual treats such as this are a characteristic of many stone rows and almost certainly explain why rows were built in particular locations.

Stone 4

Stone 4. View from west. 

This stone measures 0.53m long by 0.37m wide, stands up to 0.67m high and is orientated at 100°.

View from stone 4. The arc of distant views from the row increases as you walk eastward (uphill).

Stone 5

Stone 5. View from east. These two recumbent granite slabs probably represent a broken stone which would have original denoted the upper end of the row.  The southern slab stands up to 0.46m high.

View from stone 5. Brent Tor is now situated within the central part of the viewshed.


Access Information

Car parking is normally available at SX 52991 86327, but if not the large car park at SX 52545 85369 may be used. From either location the stone row can be reached on foot. A bridge and stepping stones (for the more adventurous) are available at SX 53188 85719.


Acknowledgements

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


Online Resources 

PastScape     Historic Environment Record     Prehistoric Monuments of Dartmoor

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