By: Blonde One

Map image copyright Ordnance Survey 2017


There is lots of evidence on Dartmoor of earlier settlers. We have found all sorts of interesting things during our Blonde wanderings, some we know a little bit about and some we don’t. I would urge you to go a little bit beyond the beaten track every now and then to try and find some of the fascinating things that Dartmoor has to offer.

On a recent walk on the more rugged and remote North Moor Blonde Two and I found a kist and cairn that I think is quite lovely.

Kists, or kistvaens are ancient burial sites and would have contained the body of someone placed into it in the foetus position. When they were first constructed, 4000 years ago, they would have consisted of four granite slabs to form the sides and would have had a granite slab lid. These kists have all been emptied now and are in various states of repair. According to the brilliant Legendary Dartmoor website 94% of kists are oriented in a NW/SE location but it’s not known why. The one we found on approach to Doe Tor was not intact at all; one side and the lid were missing. Despite this I found this one pleasing, but I think that that was mostly because of its location.

It sits on top of a small group of stones known as a cairn. This cairn is not very visible as it’s now covered in grass. So in terms of being a well preserved Dartmoor antiquity this one is not a great example. Again, I encourage you to go off and find your own. There are many examples on the moors just crying out to have their photo taken!

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