<< Our Photo Pages >> Belstone Common Cairns - Cairn in England in Devon

Submitted by AngieLake on Tuesday, 13 November 2007  Page Views: 8107

Neolithic and Bronze AgeSite Name: Belstone Common Cairns Alternative Name: Cairn Circle Cullever Steps; Cullever Steps; Grinsell Belstone 2; Turner D11
Country: England County: Devon Type: Cairn
Nearest Town: Okehampton  Nearest Village: Belstone
Map Ref: SX6077491956
Latitude: 50.710519N  Longitude: 3.973274W
Condition:
5Perfect
4Almost Perfect
3Reasonable but with some damage
2Ruined but still recognisable as an ancient site
1Pretty much destroyed, possibly visible as crop marks
0No data.
-1Completely destroyed
3 Ambience:
5Superb
4Good
3Ordinary
2Not Good
1Awful
0No data.
4 Access:
5Can be driven to, probably with disabled access
4Short walk on a footpath
3Requiring a bit more of a walk
2A long walk
1In the middle of nowhere, a nightmare to find
0No data.
3 Accuracy:
5co-ordinates taken by GPS or official recorded co-ordinates
4co-ordinates scaled from a detailed map
3co-ordinates scaled from a bad map
2co-ordinates of the nearest village
1co-ordinates of the nearest town
0no data
5

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I have visited· I would like to visit

Bladup would like to visit

stuartindigo visited on 20th Oct 2018 - their rating: Cond: 3 Amb: 4 Access: 3 Obviously damaged in antiquity, and not quite as impressive as it's near neighbour (the 9 stones), still well worth a look.

AngieLake have visited here

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The cairn circle near Cullever Steps on Belstone Common. Land opposite belongs to East Okement Farm. [If Cullever Steps is the river crossing, then it is at centre right here.] (Vote or comment on this photo)
Cairn in Devon

If you've visited Nine Stones near Belstone, walk further SSW (more than the distance already walked from Belstone village) and look out for Irishmans Wall, which decends east-west over the western side of Belstone Tor. The lower end of this wall is a good marker for the smallish ruined cairn circle.

In Butlers 'Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, Vol Two - The North', he mentions four cairns under the heading 'Belstone Common Cairns', including the Nine Stones. Giving that one ref. no. ‘13', he numbers this cairn ‘14'.

(From Belstone Nine Stones):
"Nearly a kilometre to the south-west on the almost flat ground near Cullever Steps is a smaller cairn circle, 14. About a third of the retaining circle is missing, the rest set as a kerb only 4.5m in diameter surrounding a substantial mound. A large block has been exposed in a deep pit at the centre and a flat slab 1.7 x 1.2m across, propped against the outside of the mound, may well be a displaced cist cover.
Nearby a flint knife of Early Bronze Age date was found lying on the surface after having been exposed by heavy rain.

Irishman's Wall can be seen descending Belstone Tor to the east, its foundations continuing across the valley floor to Cullever Steps and East Okement Farm, the latter built about 1878. It was erected in the early nineteenth century as the northern boundary of one of the largest enclosures attempted on the moor, 600 Ha. in extent. The wall continues southward over the tinners' mounds alongside the Black-a-Ven for three kilometres before accompanying the military track back to Steeperton Gorge on the Taw. Much of the enclosed area is within the Forest but also includes small parts of Belstone and Okehampton Commons. According to Crossing the commoners, not surprisingly objecting to this loss of their rights, pulled down their sections of walling before the circuit was completed."

Update September 2019: The ring cairn at SX 60787 91954 is featured on the Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks (PDW) website - see their entry for the Cullever Steps Ring Setting Cairn and Cist.

This site is also recorded as Pastscape Monument No. 444173, Devon and Dartmoor HER: MDV6867 (Ring cairn 230m south east of Cullever Steps, and scheduled as Historic England List ID 1017870 (Ring cairn 230m south east of Cullever Steps).
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Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : Four views of an interesting stone and its partner, on the west bank of the East Okement, not far from the Cullever Steps boundary marker. It lies just to the west of the rough track to 'East Bowden' or 'Higher Halstock' at approx SX604924, on the lower eastern slopes of an unnamed hill to NE of Rowtor. Top L: Looking north up the valley of the East Okement - [the rise on the right is 'Scar... (1 comment - Vote or comment on this photo)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The eastern side of Cullever Steps boundary stone, with its 'O P B', or 'Okehampton Parish Boundary'. A footpath leads west here towards the summit of Rowtor. NB: Beware of live firing if exploring here, as it is a military training range. There is a sign giving safe dates on the gateway to the moor at the SW of Belstone village, by the 'Resr' [marked on OS map]. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The boundary stone at Cullever Steps near the cairn on Belstone Common. [Approx: SX606921] 'OPB' stands for Okehampton Parish Boundary, the other side being the Moor. Note the faint line of Irishman's Wall [centre] climbing eastwards up the western slopes of Belstone Tor. The rocky outcrop top right is Higher Tor. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The cairn circle near Cullever Steps on Belstone Common, looking approx WNW. 6 Nov 07. (1 comment - Vote or comment on this photo)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : Cullever Steps cairn circle and cist (SX 60789195), a nice spot.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : The lovely Cullever Steps cairn circle and cist (SX 60789195).

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : Cullever Steps cairn circle and cist (SX 60789195).

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : Cullever Steps Cairn Circle and Cist (SX 60789195). I like it here, between hills.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : Cullever Steps cairn circle and cist (SX 60789195).

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Bladup : Cullever Steps Cairn Circle and Cist (SX 60789195). In the foreground is the large displaced cist cover.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by Anne T : The Cullever Steps Ring Setting Cairn and Cist, submitted on behalf of Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by caradoc68 : SX 609 919,belstone common cairn. Inbtween Belstone common and Rowtor there is a small circle cairn, i visited it when the cloud dissided to come down, and was quite hard to find. the cairn its self is been robded out and damaged with the capstone laying on top of one of the standing stones but the cairn is worth the visit just to see a smaller site.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : Another view of the SW stone in the cairn circle near Cullever Steps. I feel sure this stone was especially dressed in this neatly curved shape for placing in this position, as a similar one features at the SW of the ring of Nine Stones cairn circle, a few hundred yards to the NNE.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : Chloe Burnham....here's one for you! These sweet little fat, round, shaggy ponies were trotting along the track near the Cullever Steps cairn circle. They look like Shetland ponies - a very rare sight running wild on the rugged wilderness of Dartmoor. (4 comments)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : From the cairn circle's SW arc, looking approx SE towards the southern end of Higher Tor. [Butler lists another cairn in this area - "a well-preserved cairn, 8.5m across".] It was so sunny on 6 Nov that the autumn shades of the bracken are quite dazzling.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : Looking approx. East [ENE?] from the cairn circle near Cullever Steps. Belstone Tor has quite a long ridge with several rocky outcrops. At its southern end is Higher Tor, which might be the rocky part on the right. (The long ridge visible from Nine Stones would be from the left-hand peak here, towards the left [north]).

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : This is the granite bridge over the narrow East Okement River, near Cullever Steps. If you find this, you aren't far from the cairn.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : Irishman's Wall running from east to west down over the western slopes of Belstone Tor. The cairn circle is not far from its lower end, near Cullever Steps. [When searching for the cairn, you may see a suspiciously obvious arrangement of stones near the track. Look to your left - south -here, and you will see the cairn.] (1 comment)

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The stone on the right is believed to have been the capstone of this cairn. It now lies half buried in bracken on the south arc of the retaining circle.

Belstone Common Cairns
Belstone Common Cairns submitted by AngieLake : The centre of the cairn circle, looking south, showing the large block in centre pit foreground, and the possible capstone centre rear. [Note the stone shape upper right, in same area of arc, and similar shape to the one in nearby Nine Stones.]

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Nearby sites listing. In the following links * = Image available
 702m SSE 151° Winter Tor* Cist (SX6110291335)
 998m NNE 26° Nine Stones (Belstone)* Stone Circle (SX6123192844)
 1.3km NNE 31° Watchet Hill Cairn* Cairn (SX6147293042)
 1.9km NE 35° Belstone Ring Cross* Ancient Cross (SX6192793500)
 2.0km NE 38° Holy Well (Belstone)* Holy Well or Sacred Spring (SX6202393468)
 2.2km NNW 349° East Hill Promontory Fort* Promontory Fort / Cliff Castle (SX604941)
 2.4km NW 318° Fitz's Well* Holy Well or Sacred Spring (SX5919093783)
 2.4km ESE 122° White Hill, Devon* Ancient Village or Settlement (SX628906)
 2.5km S 185° Oke Tor* Stone Row / Alignment (SX605895)
 2.7km ENE 77° Cosdon Hill cairn 9* Round Cairn (SX63419250)
 2.7km ENE 74° Sticklepath stone circle* Stone Circle (SX63439264)
 2.9km E 98° Cosdon Hill Summit Cairns* Cairn (SX63619149)
 3.3km WSW 237° Yes Tor cairns* Barrow Cemetery (SX57959020)
 3.3km W 261° Black Down West Cairn (SX57469153)
 3.4km SE 132° White Moor Down* Stone Circle (SX63288961)
 3.5km SE 132° White Moor Cairn* Cairn (SX6330289534)
 3.6km E 94° Cosdon Hill Cairn Circle* Stone Circle (SX64339159)
 3.6km SE 132° White Moor Stone* Standing Stone (Menhir) (SX6335289476)
 3.6km E 94° Cosdon Hill Multiple Stone Rows* Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue (SX64349159)
 3.7km NE 39° Belstone Boundary Marker* Marker Stone (SX6314994770)
 3.7km SW 226° High Willhays North Ring Cairn (SX58028944)
 3.8km E 80° Eight Rocks* Stone Circle (SX645925)
 3.8km NE 53° Sticklepath Boundary Marker* Marker Stone (SX6388694135)
 3.8km NE 54° Lady Well (Sticklepath)* Holy Well or Sacred Spring (SX6390494124)
 3.9km SW 223° High Willhays kerb cairn* Round Cairn (SX58038922)
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"Belstone Common Cairns" | Login/Create an Account | 2 News and Comments
  
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Re: Belstone Common Cairns by AngieLake on Monday, 14 July 2008
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I found an historical note about Irishman's Wall in 'The Book of Belstone', by Chris and Marion Walpole (2002).

Quote:

"Irishman’s Wall:
“Various theories have been put forward to explain this wall, which runs east to west across Belstone Tor. It closely follows the old boundary between the Forest of Dartmoor and Belstone and South Tawton Commons between Cullever Steps and the summit of Cosdon, leading some to believe it was a deliberate marking of that boundary. Others have identified further sections of the wall, in particular along the Black-a-ven Brook, and seen it as part of an early 19th century attempt to enclose 2000 acres of Forest, probably with Duchy sanction. Matthew Crawford, one of the main ‘improvers’, is believed to be responsible for employing the ‘Irishmen’ – which may have been”
[in those days - *my remark*]
“a derogatory term for any outsider – who did the work. In Dartmoor Worker (1903) William Crossing noted those employed in the building astonished the people of the moor, by their utter contempt for boots and stockings. He also believed he had found, on the eastern side of the Taw above Holloway’s Field sheepfold, the ruins of a house that locals said the ‘Irishmen’ had lived in.
The attempt at enclosure failed. The story that comes down to us tells of irate Belstonians (including Clifford Pike’s great-great-grandparents Thomas and Ann Brock) and men from Okehampton biding their time before marching to the wall, pulling it down and driving the intruders away.”
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Re: Belstone Common Cairns by AngieLake on Tuesday, 13 November 2007
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Please note that the number '14 ' (as Butler applied to the cairn) was only his reference number to features on this area's map in the book, and didn't correspond to the quantity of cairns here.
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