Shell Top, South West

Looking north along the row.

A single stone row measuring 73.5m long, including at least 32 mainly small and medium-sized stones together with a few large orthostats situated on a west facing slope. The row is orientated NNW to SSE, leads upslope from a cairn standing at the SSE end, and terminates at a large recumbent orthostat. Nearby are two further stone rows, cairns and several prehistoric settlements. It may significant that this row runs parallel to a nearby contour reave.

Location

England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 59473 63142     Lat 50.451189   Long -3.9807455

Map showing the location of Shell Top, South West stone row.

Simplified plan of Shell Top SW stone alignment. The three green stones at the north of the row may have formed part of the row or alternatively may be natural ground boulders (After Butler, 1994, 174 and fieldwork).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 73.5m
No. of stones: 32 Size of stones: Small, medium and large
Orientation: 163° Altitude: 370m
Upper end: Pillar Lower end: Cairn
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Reave and prehistoric settlement
Notes: This row unusually leads along the contour rather than across it.

Other Information

Public Access:  Yes
Land Status: National Park
Scheduled Ancient Monument: No

Identification

Category: Plausible. This row which was first identified by Dennis Lethbridge was initially dismissed, but is now accepted as prehistoric.


Typology

This stone row is of Type S12. Information on this form of stone row and other rows of this type is available here.


Photographs

(2nd May 2013)

Cairn at the southern end of the row. View from south looking along the row (Scale 1m).

A pair of fallen slabs forming part of the row. View from south east (Scale 1m).

Looking south along the row (Scale 1m).

The substantial recumbent slab at the northern end of the row (Scale 1m).

Individual Stones (31st August 2019)

Plan showing the numbered stones.

Stones 1 and 2 viewed from the south. Stone 1 on the left and stone 2 on the right (Scale 1m).

Stone 3 viewed from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 4. View from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 5. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 6. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stones 7 and 8 viewed from the south (Scale 1m). Stone 7 in the foreground.

Stone 9. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 11. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 12. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 13. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 14. View from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 15. View from north (Scale 1m).

Stone 17. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 18. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 19. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 20. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 21 with stone 20 on the right. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 22 with stones 24 and 23 on the right. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 23. View from west (Scale 1m).

Stone 24 with stone 23 in the foreground. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 25. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 26 with stone 25 on the right. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 27. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 28. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 29. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 30. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 31 with large recumbent slab 32 beyond. View from south (Scale 1m).

Stone 32. View from north (Scale 1m). This substantial slab probably stood at the northern end of the row. However three further stones (shown green in plan) may have once formed an extension. Further work will be required to prove or refute this idea and in the meantime this stone is accepted as the probable northern end of the row.

Stone 33 may have formed part of this stone row. View from north with stone 32 in the background (Scale 1m).

The three stones to the north of substantial slab (32). These may have formed part of the row or alternatively may be entirely natural. The ranging rod (1m) stands beside stone 34. View from the south.

Stone 35. View from south (Scale 1m).

Landscape Comment

The Heywhatsthat viewshed from the southern end of the row is available here. This shows that there are extensive views to the south and west, but restricted views to the east and north. A series of promontories including Lizard Point, Dodman Point, Penlee Point and Beacon Point are all visible from this row. Distant promontories are often at the limit of visibility from rows suggesting that a link of some sort between them and the activities at the rows.  

Plymouth Sound and Penlee Point promontory.

Dodman Point promontory.

Beacon Point (SX 61741 46052) at Mothercombe. 

Access Information

Car parking is available at SX 57055 63069. From here take the track leading north east which follows the northern edge of the Whitehill Yeo china clay pit. Follow this track to SX 59027 63098 then head due east for about 450m.


Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Historic Environment Record     Prehistoric Monuments of Dartmoor

Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks

Other References

Butler, J., 1994, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities – Vol. 3 – The South-West, Devon Books Exeter, pgs. 173-174.


Timeline

VISITED:- 2nd May 2013 and 31st August 2019

FIRST PUBLISHED:- 24th January 2016

LAST UPDATED:- 1st October 2019

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