<< Our Photo Pages >> Whittenknowles Rocks - Ancient Village or Settlement in England in Devon

Submitted by thecaptain on Sunday, 15 June 2008  Page Views: 6517

Multi-periodSite Name: Whittenknowles Rocks
Country: England County: Devon Type: Ancient Village or Settlement
Nearest Town: Tavistock  Nearest Village: Lee Moor
Map Ref: SX5852867024
Latitude: 50.485903N  Longitude: 3.995562W
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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Anne T visited on 15th May 2019 - their rating: Cond: 2 Amb: 4 Access: 3 Whittenknowles Rocks Enclosed Settlement: We parked in the small car park at SX 57880 67316 next to a small stream and a ford. Walking across the road bridge, we dived off across a small stream and walked next to a small wood, entering the moorland and continuing in a southerly direction, following an old dry stone wall, then turning eastwards. Most of the walking was really easy, even though this was rough moorland. We started to come across wall lines and groups of stones, and as I started to ‘get my eye in’, the hut circles and compounds became much clearer (see Butler’s plan, “Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities”, volume 3, page 126). The hut circles and enclosures were inter-dispersed with uncleared lines of rocks, which Sandy said were natural, and the occupants had just left them as they were. Towards the southern side of the site, towards the long houses, we came across a small leat, where Sandy explained there had been ‘in the past, a natural disaster’ and all the soil had come down the slope, presumably leaving no soil for growing crops. I couldn’t believe how far this site extends – some 4.7 hectares (11.61 acres). I took photographs, blithely thinking the external GPS device on my camera was capturing the locations of the photographs. It wasn't until a couple of days later that I realised there was no lat/long information on the photographs, so I've had to guess, from Butler's plan, more or less where the photos were taken.

SandyG visited on 15th May 2019 - their rating: Cond: 3 Amb: 5 Access: 4

TheCaptain have visited here

Average ratings for this site from all visit loggers: Condition: 2.5 Ambience: 4.5 Access: 3.5

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by thecaptain : To the west of the Drizzlecombe sites, on a southern facing hillside, can be found the remains of the very large Whittenknowles Rocks ancient settlement. (Vote or comment on this photo)
To the west of the Drizzlecombe sites, on a southern facing hillside, can be found the remains of the very large Whittenknowles Rocks ancient settlement.

At least 38 huts are to be found in the very large enclosure, and many other walls and enclosed paddocks. Its use was probably over a very long time period, and the remains of a medieval longhouse can be found at the eastern side of the enclosure.

Update December 2019: This large and complex site is recorded as Pastscape Monument No. 438638, as MDV3995 (Prehistoric Hut Circle Settlement, Whitten Knowles Rocks, Sheepstor) on the Devon and Dartmoor HER, and scheduled as Historic England List ID 1010650. Pastscape lists the grid references of most of the different structures within the compound (hut circles, clearance cairns and even one hut circle that looks as if it was excavated and used in recent times by the military!). Estimates vary for the area this enclosure covers: Historic England says 6 hectares; Pastscape 4.7ha (11.61 acres).

This site is also featured on Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks - see their entry for Whittenknowles Rocks Enclosed Settlement. It is also documented briefly by J. Butler, "Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities", volume 3, pages 126 and 127, which includes a site plan.
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Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by SandyG : Medieval longhouse and AndyB within the prehistoric settlement. View from east. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by DavidHoyle : Panorama from near the top of the site. (1 comment - Vote or comment on this photo)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by SandyG : A tangle of walls and houses. (Vote or comment on this photo)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Andy B : The medieval long house with the Drizzlecombe rows just visible in the background (Sandy G trip May 2019) (Vote or comment on this photo)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Andy B : Whittenknowles Rocks hut circle (Sandy G trip May 2019) (Vote or comment on this photo)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Andy B : Our group at the medieval long house with the Drizzlecombe rows just visible in the background (Sandy G trip May 2019)

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : Towards the south eastern side of the site, we crossed the outer bank and a leat, to where an additional enclosure had been added on at some point in its life. Sandy G explained that a 'natural disaster' had swept the soil down the slope at some point, covering this area and leaving ground useless for crop cultivation above.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : With Sandy explaining this part of the site, Andrew and I stayed within ear-shot but were intrigued by some other square/rectangular (presumably medieval) structures near the long house.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : Part of the medieval long house building (which runs left-right across the photograph), with the remains of its long, low foundations. This is towards the eastern end of the settlement.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : Some parts of the settlement had fewer structures in than others. This was taken towards the upper end of the slope (northern) end of the settlement, approximately in the middle.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : A stony ditch which runs down slope from about half way down the enclosure towards its south western edge. Blithely continuing to take photographs, I hadn't realised the external GPS device on my camera had failed, or I would have asked where we were on the plan.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : About half way across the enclosed settlement, looking approximately north west across it, upslope. What a jumble of structures, walls and clitter (a collection of boulders and stone). As I walked across the structures, the hut circles and associated enclosures became clearer after a while. Thank goodness for Sandy knowing so much about this site!

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : Sandy G in 'full flow' describing a feature to part of his Intrepid Dartmoor Expedition on Day 2. From left to right: Andrew Tate, Sandy G, Dave Parks (Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks) and Andy B.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Anne T : Walking from the car park at SX 57880 67316, crossing the small stream and following the line of an old dry stone wall, then heading east, this was my first sight of one of the outer walls/banks of this enormous enclosure. It looked simple enough to interpret here, but it was more complex than the Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks Hut circle.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks. A large hut circle.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks hut circle with entrance stone on the right.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks hut circle. In the background Gutter Tor is on the left, Sheeps Tor on the right.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks. A little hut.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks, Another Possible medieval feature.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks hut circle.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks settlement wall and on the left an entrance stone.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks. Possibly a medieval feature.

Whittenknowles Rocks
Whittenknowles Rocks submitted by Bladup : Whittenknowles Rocks. Some of the huts are hard to see but once you get your eye in.

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