<< Our Photo Pages >> Challacombe rows - Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue in England in Devon

Submitted by thecaptain on Wednesday, 03 November 2004  Page Views: 12732

Neolithic and Bronze AgeSite Name: Challacombe rows
Country: England County: Devon Type: Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue
Nearest Town: Chagford  Nearest Village: Postbridge
Map Ref: SX68988082  Landranger Map Number: 191
Latitude: 50.612337N  Longitude: 3.853171W
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
4 Ambience:
5Superb
4Good
3Ordinary
2Not Good
1Awful
0No data.
3 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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SolarMegalith Traumrealistin would like to visit

Phillwhite visited on 16th Jul 2022 - their rating: Cond: 3 Amb: 4 Access: 3 Really difficult to spot when the bracken is long... There is a partr but you can walk right past it this time of year and totally miss it. Look out for snakes in the hot weather too.

TheCaptain visited on 3rd May 2022 - their rating: Cond: 4 Amb: 4 Access: 3 Drive from Postbridge to Challacombe via the Soussons cairn stone circle, and park in a little quarry by the roadside, before heading west down to Headland Warren farm with its alpacas, then up over the mining remains to the lower end of the Challacombe stone rows. Most of the stones are showing white above the heather and it looks splendid. The bottom end is a bit of a jumble, no doubt many of the stones moved during the extensive mining here, several of which seem to have been placed in surprising positions. Up the hill to the south, its a clear treble row, which can be followed up the hill to the large 2m tall stone at the top. Can see Grimspound to the east, and over to the Warren House Inn to the west. Back to the car, and drive round to the Warren House Inn for a pint of Black Tor "Pride of Dartmoor" and a look at its everlasting fire, before going to sit outside admiring the views, where I can make out some of the stone row and Grimspound. Must be one of the best pub views in southern England. Fabulous.

graemefield visited on 7th Jun 2016 - their rating: Cond: 3 Amb: 4 Access: 3

SandyG visited on 3rd Mar 2016 - their rating: Cond: 4 Amb: 4 Access: 3 Car parking is available at SX 69539 81377. From here walk south west across the open moorland keeping the fields of Headland Warren Farm to your left. The row is visible from the car parking area.

ChasDrown visited on 1st Jun 1956 - their rating: Cond: 4 Amb: 4 Access: 3

TimPrevett TheCaptain cazzyjane heidavey have visited here

Average ratings for this site from all visit loggers: Condition: 3.6 Ambience: 4 Access: 3

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : The North end of Challacombe stone rows. (Vote or comment on this photo)
A rare triple Stone Row on the northern slopes of Challacombe Down, on Dartmoor.

The Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks website features two entries for this rare stone row: see both Challacombe Down Triple Stone Row and the Challacombe Stone Row which tells us: "Some of the lower end of the row was damaged by mining operations. A few stones were re-erected within the rows by Burnard and Baring-Gould in 1893. One of these is set incorrectly across the middle row near its downhill end."

Further details can be found in the Pastscape Record for this site, Monument Number 443816, which tells us that the row runs from "SX 6896 8086 to SX 6902 8072: a triple stone row, present length 528 feet but it is impossible to tell how much was lost at the north end due to excavation of Chaw Gully. The three lines are well marked, wider apart at the north and drawing nearer to the south where they meet a blocking stone of unusual size. The stones have suffered little in their restoration except that a stone in the middle row was turned to form a blocking stone for that row. The loose stones scattered to the west of the north end have been suggested to form a stone circle and additional rows but they are probably the stones excavated from the north end of the stone row now simply lying where they were thrown. If there was a now destroyed barrow at the north end, then it lay at the lower level."

The Heritage Gateway for Devon & Dartmoor HER, HER number MDV49462, dates the site to the Early Neolithic to Late Bronze Age (4000 BC to 701 BC). The row is also scheduled as part of Historic England List ID 1021340 (Tinworks, field systems, settlements, warren, cairns and a stone alignment at Headland Warren).

The Stone Rows of Great Britain has also surveyed and recorded this row - see their page for Challacombe Down, which includes a description, photographs, a plan of the row and a description of the intriguing 'Landmark Reveals' that come into play as you walk up and down the row.

Update August 2019: This blocking stone, described as "the largest and most prominent blocking stone of the Dartmoor rows", is featured on the Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks (PDW) website - see their entry for the Challacombe Down Standing Stone. PDW adds that "Worth states it is over 5ft wide at its base and over 6ft in height. Butler (vol 2) states that the terminal pillar is today 0.5m shorter than when it was measured in 1893".

The stone is recorded as part of Pastscape Monument No. 443816, which describes the triple stone row with a 'blocking stone of unusual size'. It is also recorded with the Devon and Dartmoor HER entry for MDV6600 (Challacombe Stone Row).

The Stone Rows of Great Britain also includes an entry for the Challacombe Down Stone Row, which includes a plan of the row and a photograph of this enormous slab of granite forming the blocking stone at the upper southern end of the row.

(with thanks to thecaptain for the original information; updated September 2016 and August 2019 with information from Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks and Stone Rows of Great Britain)
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Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : Challacombe stone rows. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : The very interesting North end of Challacombe stone rows. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by cazzyjane : Challacome rows. A lovely shaped stone, being one of the largest of the rows. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by graemefield : The Challacome rows on a hot June day in 2016 (Vote or comment on this photo)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : Mr and Mrs at the Challacombe stone rows.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by cazzyjane : Challacome triple stone rows. First recorded in 1828. In 1893 there were 103 visible stones now there are just 82. As the large terminal stone has dropped in height by half a meter over time, the others have probably sunk under the earth or have been buried in the undergrowth.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by timwebb2 : Photo taken on midsummers day 2010 (2 comments)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Unknown : Challacombe Triple Row with Birch Tor in the background.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by AngieLake : This photo is titled Headland Warren Stone Row so the stones must be what we call Challacombe rows now. Headland Warren Farm is close by. Taken from 'From Haldon to Mid-Dartmoor in Old Photographs' Collected by Tim Hall, Published by Alan Sutton, 1990.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : A setting of stones adjacent to the western side of the row is considered to have erected by tinners who had removed the lower end of the row and moved the displaced stones to a new location for superstitious reasons. 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : Looking north along the row. The stones to the left of the row are thought to be a “modern” addition, although there is no evidence to support this conclusion. 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : The large stone is set at right angles to the others within the row. It may not be a coincidence that this spot coincides with the point that the cairn on the summit of Hangingstone Hill disappears as you walk northward along the row. Alternatively it may have been re-erected at the wrong angle! 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : Stone set across the orientation of the row. View from the south (Scale 1m). 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : Looking south along the row. It is clearly far from straight. 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by SandyG : The northern part of the alignment. View from the south. 3 March 2016.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Anne T : Submitted on behalf of Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks (Challacombe Down Triple Stone Row walk).

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : Challacombe stone rows with Birch Tor in the background.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by Bladup : The North end of Challacombe stone rows.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by durhamnature : Old photo from "Stonehenge...." via archive.org

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by AngieLake : This is Plate 39 from the booklet 'The Stone Rows of Dartmoor. Part 1' by R. Hansford Worth. See posting for 21st August 2012 on site page for more info. [There was no copyright attached to the booklet, an excerpt from Transactions of the Devon Assoc. dated 1946.)

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by cazzyjane : Challacome rows. Looking down from the terminal stone towards Birch Tor. A lot of these stones were re-erected where they were found, leaving a jumble of stones towards the bottom of the rows. Amazing views from here in every direction.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by TimPrevett : Viewed on about maximum zoom on a typically dull Dartmoor Day, from approach to Grimspound 14/05/09.

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by TimPrevett

Challacombe rows
Challacombe rows submitted by TimPrevett

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Nearby sites listing. In the following links * = Image available
 22m WNW 295° Challacombe Down Cairn Circle* Cairn (SX68968083)
 108m SSE 157° Challacombe Down Standing Stone* Standing Stone (Menhir) (SX69028072)
 884m NNW 339° Birch Tor Cairn* Cairn (SX6868681654)
 1.0km ENE 61° Hookney Tor Cairn* Cairn (SX6990281310)
 1.1km E 84° Grimspound* Ancient Village or Settlement (SX70078090)
 1.3km NW 308° Bennet's Cross* Ancient Cross (SX68008162)
 1.3km NNE 18° Shapley Common Ancient Village or Settlement (SX69428206)
 1.3km E 99° Hamel Down Platform Cairn (North)* Cairn (SX70318057)
 1.4km NNW 339° Bush Down Settlement* Ancient Village or Settlement (SX6849282173)
 1.5km ENE 75° Grimslake Cist* Cairn (SX7041881165)
 1.6km SW 236° Soussons Down Stone Row Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue (SX6767079980)
 1.6km ESE 115° Hamel Down Cross* Ancient Cross (SX70428011)
 1.7km SW 227° Soussons Down Cairns* Barrow Cemetery (SX6770079671)
 1.8km ESE 119° Broad Barrow (Hamel Down)* Round Barrow(s) (SX70577990)
 1.9km WNW 283° Water hill cairn* Cairn (SX67158128)
 2.0km SE 128° Single Barrow (Hamel Down)* Round Barrow(s) (SX70577953)
 2.1km SE 128° Hamel Down* Barrow Cemetery (SX706795)
 2.3km SE 133° Two Barrows (Hamel Down)* Round Barrow(s) (SX70657921)
 2.4km E 101° Berry Pound Ancient Village or Settlement (SX713803)
 2.4km NW 315° Hurston Ridge Settlement* Ancient Village or Settlement (SX67338253)
 2.4km NW 314° Hurston Ridge* Multiple Stone Rows / Avenue (SX67308251)
 2.4km SE 134° Blackaton Down north (Hamel Down)* Cairn (SX70687909)
 2.4km NW 323° Chagford Common Cairn* Cairn (SX6757182800)
 2.4km NNE 18° Challacombe Cross Settlement* Ancient Village or Settlement (SX69788313)
 2.5km SE 134° Blackaton Down south (Hamel Down)* Cairn (SX70737904)
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Re: Challacombe rows as decribed by R. Hansford Worth by AngieLake on Tuesday, 21 August 2012
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Excerpt from a booklet titled: “ 'The Stone Rows of Dartmoor Part 1' by R. Hansford Worth. [Reprinted from The Transactions of the Devonshire Association for the Advancement of Science, Literature and Art, 1946. Vol. lxxviii pp. 285-315.]”
(This A5 booklet was bought in a charity shop in Exeter recently, and has no copyright ref.)
Worth presents his list of rows in sections according to their topography, under the area governed by river or watershed.

"CHALLACOMBE, by CHAW GULLY." (East and West Webburn streams)
"Triple row, which lies on the water-parting between the watersheds of the E and W. Webburn Rivers, on the north slope of Challacombe Hill. The row terminates to the south in a blocking-stone of unusual size, which, in fig. 1, plate 39 will be seen breaking the skyline, and in the foreground of fig. 2, of the same plate. The northern end of the row was destroyed by the excavation of Chaw Gully, and we can not say what was there; but if it were a barrow, then that barrow lay at the lower end of the row. The three lines are well marked, and little damage was done to them when the row suffered restoration, except that a stone in the middle row was turned to form a blocking-stone across that one row. This stone will be seen in the foreground of fig. 2, plate 39.
More than this there were loose stones scattered to the west of the north end of the row; an attempt was made to re-erect these in the places in which "they should have been." Nothing coherent came of that attempt, but it has been translated as presenting a stone circle, and some additional rows, very short and very imperfect. The probability is that the stones were drawn back here when the top soil was removed prior to the excavation of the east end of Chaw Gully, and as they fell from the cart or sled, so they lay. It is not safe to see in this monument any more than a good example of a triple row, with some respectable stones used in its construction. The lines are further apart at the north than at the south end, where they gather in somewhat to meet the blocking-stone. The present length .." [he writes in 1946, remember] ".. is 528 feet, but how much has been lost at the north end can not be determined. The direction of length is N. 23⁰-30' W. The position of the blocking-stone to the south is, Devon, 6 inch O.S., xcix, N.E., lon. 3⁰-51'-5", lat. 50⁰-36'-39 1/2". The elevation of the ground is c. 1,460 feet O.D. at the blocking-stone, and it falls north at a gradient of c. 1 in 11."

NB: When transferring the 'deg' symbol to this page from my Word prog., it loses its original circular shape!

I'll add the photos he references in Plate 39 in a moment.
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Re: Challacombe rows by timwebb2 on Tuesday, 22 June 2010
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a 30 to 35 minute walk to reach the site, best route is from the car park just down the road from the Dartmoor Inn (approx 200 yards away).
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Re: Challacombe rows by timwebb2 on Tuesday, 22 June 2010
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Condition:3
Ambience:4
Access:3
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Re: Challacombe rows by AngieLake on Friday, 03 April 2009
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The fascinating legend about 'the Roman Mine', Chaw Gully, which bisected a stone avenue on the Challacombe Ridge, can be found here:

http://www.legendarydartmoor.co.uk/chaw_gully.htm

"High up, near the Challacombe ridge is a deep gash in the moorside which is known as 'Chaw Gully'. Some estimates go as far as to say it is at least fifty feet deep, either way it is the work of the 'old men' of the moor. It is here that they tore out the very heart of the moorland to get at the precious tin ore lying beneath. Ever since this act of vandalism the deep gully has always been a place of foreboding, the wind howls down through its deep scars and seldom does the sunlight warm the gert's floor. The old tinners always shook their heads and shivered at the mention of 'Chaw Gully'. The very ridge through which it was cut, Challacombe, is said to have meant the 'Valley of Jawbones'. The name 'Chaw' comes from the Devonshire name for a Chough, which is just a local name for the Jackdaw. Never a fitting name could be given to this cursed place because it is here that the birds build their nests and sit like sentinels on its rocky sides. As soon as a human approaches they commence their incessant chattering and squawking and should any animal be unfortunate to slip over the steep gully's sides their bones will be picked clean in days."

You've been warned!
It goes on:

"Nobody knows why the malevolent spirits dwell in the deep, damp ferny depths of the gert. It has been suggested that the spirits of the ancients became incensed when the miners cut through one of their sacred stone avenues on the Challacombe Ridge. A branch of Chaw Gully known as 'Lane's Shaft Gully' ends just below the ancient stone row. Or could it be that they guard some precious treasure? It has been a well known fact that the rich ore in this area also contained small amounts of gold and there is a tradition that at the bottom of a deep tinners shaft lies a hoard of gold. The mine has always been known to the tinners as the 'Roman Mine' and it is guarded by an ancient raven. Some say that this bird was the very raven that Noah sent from the ark never to return. The old bird perches on a high crag above the mine and acts as a sentry. Throughout the centuries many greedy men have perished in their quest to find the elusive treasure."

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