Upper Erme

Sinuous alignment ascending the hill at Dry Lake Ford. View from the south.

Sinuous alignment ascending the hill at Dry Lake Ford. View from the south.

Location

England     Devon     Dartmoor     SX 63663 67796     Lat 50.49399554   Long -3.9235669

 

A plan

Simplified plan of the Upper Erme stone alignment (Source: Butler, J. and Google Earth).

Characteristics

Type: Single Length: 3320m
No. of stones: 922 Size of stones: Small, medium and large
Orientation: 1° Altitude: 474m
Upper end: Cairn Lower end: Cairn
Straight (Yes or No)  : No Sea View: Yes
Context:  Cairns and prehistoric settlements
Notes:  Longest row in Great Britain

Other Information

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

Identification

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


Photographs

Upper Erme Valley

Kerbed cairn at the southern end of the row. View from south.

Upper Erme Valley

Stone row leading from the kerbed cairn. View from south (Scale 1m). Prehistoric enclosed settlements are visible above Hook Lake in the background.

Upper Erme Valley

Upper length of the row and kerbed cairn. View from the west.

Upper Erme

Row leading to the kerbed cairn. View from north west (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme

A length of the alignment with prehistoric settlements and Hook Lake row beyond.

Upper Erme

Stone row leading towards the kerbed cairn. View from north (Scale 1m). 

wp-upper-erme-dscf2982

The Stalldown row and Hillson’s House Cairn are visible on the skyline from the southern end of the row. View from north.

Upper Erme

The near length of the row is aligned on the cairn but it changes orientation to pass to the east. View from south.

Upper Erme

The alignment constantly changes orientation. View from south.

Upper Erme

The row leading across the hillside passed a large cairn.

Upper Erme Valley

The row is composed of stones of very different sizes.

Upper Erme Valley

The row winds it way passed a large cairn. View from the south.

Upper Erme

This length of the row consists mainly of medium sized stones. View from north.

Upper Erme

View from north looking along a well preserved length of the row.

Upper Erme

This length of the row includes mainly small stones. View from east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme

This length of the row includes mainly small stones. View from west (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme

The scale of this row can be appreciated from this viewpoint. View from north.

Upper Erme

The row is far from straight. This length has a significant curve. View from the north (scale 1m). 

Upper Erme

Row passing the large cairn at SX 63520 64955. View from south east.

Upper Erme

Row passing the large cairn at SX 63520 64955. View from east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme

Some of the stones have been exposed by peat cutting. View from south east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme

Sinuous length of row within an area of historic peat cuttings. View from south.

Upper Erme Valley

From this viewpoint the sinuous character of the row is clearly apparent. View from north.

wp-upper-erme-dscf2790a

From this viewpoint the sinuous character of the row (highlighted) is clearly apparent. View from north.

Upper Erme Valley

In places the row is completely buried beneath deep peat. At this point a stone is exposed and illustrates the considerable depth of the peat. This exposure provides an opportunity for environmental and dating analysis. View from north (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

The stone row passes Erme Pound which is a prehistoric enclosed settlement which was re-used in the historic period.

Upper Erme Valley

Sinuous length of row ascending a hillslope at SX 63671 66403.

Upper Erme Valley

Some large stones in the vicinity of the row were not utilised by the row builders although at least two substantial orthostats were incorporated. View from south. 

Upper Erme Valley

The row winding up a hillslope. View from south (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

The row winding up a hillslope. View from south (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

A length composed mainly of medium sized stones. View from east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

A length composed mainly of medium sized stones. View from east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

Looking south along the row. The tin streamwork earthworks beyond will have truncated the row in this area (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

Throughout the length of the row the size of the stones varies considerably. View from north.

Upper Erme Valley

Throughout the length of the row the size of the stones varies considerably. View from north east (Scale 1m).

Upper Erme Valley

Cairn at the northern end of the row. This unimpressive mound contrasts markedly with the scale of the row. View from south (Scale 1m).

wp-upper-erme-dscf2864
View from the cairn at the northern end of the row. The kerbed cairn at the southern end of the row only becomes visible when the northern cairn is reached. For much of the row the kerbed cairn cannot be seen appearing only at the point where the row stops. This precise visual link is likely to be significant.  

Upper Erme Valley

A mixture of small and medium sized stones.

wp-upper-erme-dscf2988

View from Stalldown. The photograph below highlights the route of the alignment.

wp-upper-erme-dscf2988a

Only part of the alignment (highlighted) is visible, but from this angle its sinuous character is very obvious. 

Access Information

This has never been an easy row to get to. When visited in 2013 car parking was available at SX 62524 61120. Recently (2016) this car parking area has been closed making it much more difficult to access this part of the moor. An alternative car parking location is at SX 64342 59548. From here the easiest way to reach the row is probably to head east to the Two Moors Way at SX 65765 59965. Then follow the track north to SX 64683 63454. From here navigate north west taking care when crossing the River Erme. Given the effort to get to the area it would be a good idea to have a look at the Hook Lake Row and if you have time the splendid one on Stalldown as well as some the amazing prehistoric settlements.  Another option maybe to park at SX 60395 70806 and approach the row from the north via Crane Hill. A full day but hopefully a rewarding one. Best contemplated in the summer.


Online Resources 

Megalithic Portal     Modern Antiquarian     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., 1993, Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities – Vol. 4 – The South-East, Devon Books Exeter, pgs. 74-77.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: