Merrivale 5

View from above and west. The ranging rod lies between the two small stones (Scale 1m).

A probable single stone row measuring at least 5.6m long, including two small-sized stones and a large orthostat standing 3.2m high situated on a gentle south facing slope with extensive views towards Bodmin Moor. The row is orientated east to west and has a precise and definable visual link with Hollow Tor. A restricted view of the sea may also be of significance.  This row forms part of an impressive ritual complex including six stone rows, nine cairns and a stone circle. There is also a prehistoric settlement in the vicinity.


England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 55349 74592     Lat 50.553139   Long -4.0432765

Map showing the location of Merrivale 5 stone row.

Simplified plan showing the stone alignments at Merrivale (Source: Butler, Google Earth and fieldwork).

Plan showing Row 5 leading towards the tall stone (Source: Survey by Sandy Gerrard)

Interpretative Plan showing Row 5 leading towards the tall stone (Source: Survey by Sandy Gerrard)


Type: Single Length: 5.6m
No. of stones: 3 Size of stones: Small and large
Orientation: 90° Altitude: 330m
Upper end: – Lower end: Pillar
Straight (Yes or No)  : Yes Sea View: Yes
Context:  Stone alignments, cairns, cist, stone circle, standing stone, prehistoric settlement  and reave
Notes: This row may be longer and consist of more than three stones. At the time of the survey only two small stones were visible. Others may come to light after prolonged dry conditions.

Other Information

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


Category: Probable. There is a possibility that the stones occur naturally, but on balance because of their relationship to the tall stone this is probably a stone row. It is possible that this row together with Row 6 formed part of a double row.


View looking along the row from the western end. Hollow Tor on the horizon sits above the tall stone at the end of the row.

As one walks along the row towards the tall stone Hollow Tor moves closer and eventually is framed by the top of the tall stone.

A little closer and Hollow Tor is perfectly hidden behind the tall stone.  Many thanks to Chloe Clifford for pointing out this visual phenomenon. As always whilst it is possible to identify and record this type of very precise visual relationship we can never be 100% sure that it was special to the row builders and therefore deliberate. However, as this kind of visual trick is being regularly identified at stone rows and other broadly contemporary sites this powerful circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that the row builders were carefully selecting places which acknowledged and interacted with landmarks at the limit of visibility.

View from above and north west. The tall stone dwarfs the tiny stones within this row.  

Access Information

Car parking is available at SX 55313 75017 or SX 56050 74895. The row is a relatively short walk away from either car park. It is worth having a look at the stone circle a short distance to the north of the row. The row is easiest found by walking towards the large standing stone situated close by.

Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Historic Environment Record     Prehistoric Monuments of Dartmoor

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., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities – Vol. 3 – The South-West, Devon Books Exeter, pgs. 28-29.


VISITED:- 24th March 2013, 20th October 2014, 6th July 2016 and 5th July 2018

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 24th January 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 13th January 2020

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