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Dartmoor Resource: Guide to Dartmoor Ancient or 'Sacred' Pools

Guide to Dartmoor Ancient or 'Sacred' Pools

Sourton Tors Ancient Pool

Photo: Sourton Tors Ancient Pool


In 2019 Dartmoor Magazine published an interesting article by Dr Tom Greeves entitled Dartmoor's Sacred Pools - Design in the Prehistoric Landscape. The question posed is whether some of the pools on Dartmoor could have a prehistoric origin or significance. In total 43 candidates are listed (see table and listings below).

The Historic Environment Records (HER) for these features use the phrase "over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period". However, whether or not the pools were man-made is not entirely the point as they may still have had ritual significance.

The case of Bloody Pool in South Brent dramatically brings this issue to life. In 1854, a hoard of Bronze Age metalwork was recovered from the pool, including four bronze ferrules, with three barbed bronze spearheads. All items were broken and are thought to have been votive deposits. This is the only example so far found on Dartmoor but there could be others and the pools themselves could have formed part of the ritual landscape of Dartmoor.

Dr Greeves discounts a number of well-known pools that are known to have been the product of quarrying or industrial activity.

Dr Greeves points out that some of these features seem to be associated with prehistoric monuments, he states that:

Seventeen have a close relationship with prehistoric cairns:

Five pools have a striking relationship with stone rows.

The Goadstone, Langstone and Spurrells stone rows 'graze' the pools tangentially. A reave on Mardon Down changes direction to avoid the pool. At Sourton Tors there are associated monuments including a stone circle and a cairn 'row'.

Five of the pools have complete or partial ring banks around them resembling ring cairns or the prehistoric 'pond barrows' of Wiltshire, Dorset and Pembrokeshire. The Black Hill B pool is particularly interesting have has a double ring bank.

Also of interest are the four Brentor pools which form a striking linear arrangement.

The database listings

A few of the suggested 'sacred' pools have previously been associated with the prehistoric and were previously listed on the Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks database as "reported cairns". These include Blackpool on Mardon Down, Blackaton Newtake on Hamel Down. In both cases the list entries on this website have now been changed to "ancient pools".

Two of the ring cairns on Wigford Down are also suggested candidates for being 'sacred' pools. As they are also candidates for being ring cairns the existing ring cairn entries have been retained. Two new "ancient pool" entries have also been added for these two but marked as duplicate records; the purpose being to include them in the listings below as a redirection point to the existing ring cairn entries. All of the other entries in the list of potential 'sacred' pools have now been added to the Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks database.

Do we know for sure that all of these sites have a prehistoric connection? It could be argued that some of these features are natural and have never had any usage or significance in the prehistoric. The same could be said for some of the "reported cairns" listed on this website. Indeed, as time goes by some features thought to be man-made turn out to be natural features and conversely some "reported cairns", thought to be dubious prehistoric candidates, turn out to be good examples after new discoveries are made. Further research into these sites may bring greater clarity into this fascinating subject.

Bibliography & references


Greeves, T, Dartmoor's Sacred Pools - Design in the Prehistoric Landscape, Dartmoor Magazine 137 (2019)
Burnard, Robert, Early Man, The Victoria History of the County of Devon: v. 1 (1906)

Listing of Dartmoor Ancient or 'Sacred' Pools

Birch Tor Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 68686 81656
HER: MDV127183
Short Name: PO:Birch Tor
Dimensions (m): 15.5m
Notes: "The pool at Birch Tor measures around 15.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop: Warren House Inn (1.4 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 68686 81656

Black Hill A (Manaton) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 76188 78885
HER: MDV127184
Short Name: PO:BlackHillA
Dimensions (m): 10-11m
Notes: "The pool at Black Hill measures 10-11m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Manaton Becky Falls (1.2 km) [Route: 271,671]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lustleigh Bishops Stone (3.6 km) [Route: 178]
Nearby sites: SX 76188 78885

Black Hill B (Manaton) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 76171 78465
HER: MDV127185
Short Name: PO:BlackHillB
Dimensions (m): 10m
Notes: "The second pool at Black Hill (B) is interesting as it possesses a double ring bank enclosing a distinct sunken hollow. Externally the feature is about 20 metres in diameter, and the pool hollow about 10 metres. Compared with the King’s Stables pool and earthwork at Navan, County Armagh which is about 25 metres in diameter x 3.5 metres deep, dating to around 1000 BC (although this feature has a shallower form). One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period, and may have been used to deposit votive items, although these Dartmoor examples may have alternative significance as designed prehistoric elements in the landscape. Many are located on ridge tops and in conjunction with cairns, stone rows and other prehistoric features. Further research may well reveal more about these interesting features."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (1.3 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lustleigh Bishops Stone (3.9 km) [Route: 178]
Nearby sites: SX 76171 78465

Black Pool (Western Beacon) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 65501 58131
HER: MDV127193
Short Name: PO:Black Pool
Dimensions (m): 31 x 21m
Notes: "One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Livestock watering pond, 30 metres by 20 metres and 0.6 metres deep. Pool has been modified by peat cutting."
Nearest Bus Stop: Ivybridge BP Garage (Stop B) (2.7 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 65501 58131

Blackaton Newtake (Hameldown) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 70785 78973
HER: MDV7527
Short Name: PO:Hameldown
Dimensions (m): 13 x 10m
Notes: Previously recorded as a possible cairn (was listed here as Hameldown 2 Reported Cairn), although identification noted later as 'doubtful' - water filled depression with a few surface stones. Identified as one of the 40+ 'sacred pool' sites on the moor, possibly dating from the Prehistoric period.
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Widecombe in the Moor Car Park (2.4 km) [Route: 271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Warren House Inn (3.9 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 70785 78973

Blackpool (Mardon) Ancient Pool

Blackpool (Mardon) Ancient Pool

Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks: Dartmoor Site: Mardon Down Stone Circle & Cairns
OS Map: SX 76757 87350
HER: MDV19004
Short Name: PO Blackpool
Dimensions (m): 25 x 20m
Notes: "Marked as an enclosure on historic mapping, this is actually a seasonal pond. Surveyed in 2017, its outline shape is unevenly rounded on the western end. Its appearance, with small scarped edges, suggest it was hand dug and large boulders around the edge have been left in situ. The hollow measures 22 metres by 17 metres but is only 0.5 metres deep. An alignment of small stones in the base of the hollow may be a more recent addition. There is no indication as to where material removed from the hollow was dumped. Cannot be confirmed for certain as a dewpond and no evidence was found for this ever having been the site of a ring cairn, as previously suggested. Recorded as Black Pool in 1912. Included in Greeves' list (2019) of 'sacred pools', with potentially prehistoric origins."
Nearest Bus Stop: Moretonhampstead Court Street Car Park (2.1 km) [Route: 171,173]
Nearby sites: SX 76757 87350

Bloody Pool (S. Brent) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 70302 62639
HER: MDV7955
Short Name: PO:BloodyPool
Notes: "Bloody Pool is one of over 40 such pool sites on Dartmoor which may date to the Prehistoric period and may have had a sacred function. This pool was noted in 1960 as having been filled in and its site now forms part of a roadside verge. In 1854, a hoard of Bronze Age metalwork was recovered from the pool, including four bronze ferrules, with three barbed bronze spearheads. All items were broken and are thought to have been votive deposits; the only pool on the moor where such items have been found."

"A legend of a battle is attached to the area of Bloody Pool. The name Bloody Pool pre-dates the finds of Bronze spears etc. in 1855. Recorded in South Brent Tithe Map 1843." See also find spot HER MDV39436 - Possible location of Bloody Pool and also Legendary Dartmoor: Bloody Pool
Nearest Bus Stop: South Brent Pool Park (2.7 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 70302 62639

Bonehill Down Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 73282 77812
HER: MDV127194
Short Name: PO:BonehillDn
Dimensions (m): 12 x 6m
Notes: "The pool on Bonehill Down measures 12 by 6m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Swallerton Gate (1.5 km) [Route: 271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Poundsgate Tavistock Inn (6.3 km) [Route: 172]
Nearby sites: SX 73282 77812

Brent Tor A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 46543 80335
HER: MDV127195
Short Name: PO:Brent Tor A
Dimensions (m): 40 x 30m
Notes: "Brent Tor pool A measures around 40 by 30m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor (or just outside the boundary of the National Park) that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: North Brentor War Memorial (1.9 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 46543 80335

Brent Tor B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 46610 80291
HER: MDV127199
Short Name: PO:Brent Tor B
Dimensions (m): 50 x 40m
Notes: "Brent Tor pool B measures around 50 by 40m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor (or just outside the boundary of the National Park) that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: North Brentor War Memorial (1.9 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 46610 80291

Brent Tor C Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 46648 80267
HER: MDV127200
Short Name: PO:Brent Tor C
Dimensions (m): 40 x 35m
Notes: "Brent Tor pool C measures around 40 by 35m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor (or just outside the boundary of the National Park) that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: North Brentor War Memorial (1.9 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 46648 80267

Brent Tor D Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 46679 80226
HER: MDV127201
Short Name: PO:Brent Tor D
Dimensions (m): 28 x 25m
Notes: "Brent Tor pool D measures around 28 by 25m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor (or just outside the boundary of the National Park) that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: North Brentor War Memorial (1.9 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 46679 80226

Buckland Beacon Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 73558 73260
HER: MDV127202
Short Name: PO:Buckland
Dimensions (m): 10.5 x 9.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 10.5 by 9.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a cairn." NB. Nearby is Turner A13 ring cairn.
Nearest Bus Stop: Poundsgate Tavistock Inn (3.3 km) [Route: 172]
Nearby sites: SX 73558 73260

Butterdon (ENE) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 65733 58969
HER: MDV127203
Short Name: PO:Butterdon
Dimensions (m): 15 x 14.5m
Notes: "A pool east-north-east of Butterdon. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near group of features including a stone row and cairns. Sub-rectangular shallow pit 15 metres by 19 metres and 0.4 metres deep. The edges show the remains of peat cutting"
Nearest Bus Stop: Ivybridge BP Garage (Stop B) (3.5 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 65733 58969

Cox Tor Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 53635 76205
HER: MDV26281
Short Name: PO:Cox Tor
Dimensions (m): 35 x 25m
Notes: "Previously recorded from aerial photographs as a possible quarry. Marked as 'pond' on modern mapping and is one of the examples suggested by Greeves (2019) to potentially have Prehistoric origins."
Nearest Bus Stop: Merrivale Dartmoor Inn (1.6 km) [Route: 98,171,172]
Nearby sites: SX 53635 76205

Cranmere Pool Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 60323 85829
HER: MDV4381
Short Name: PO:Cranmere
Dimensions (m): 1 acre (0.4ha)
Notes: "Recorded in the early 20th century as a possible holy well, it is one of the examples suggested by Greeves (2019) to potentially have Prehistoric origins."
Nearest Bus Stop: Fox and Hounds Hotel (7.9 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 60323 85829

Cripdon Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 73345 80335
HER: MDV127204
Short Name: PO:Cripdon
Dimensions (m): 24 x 14m
Notes: "The pool at Cripdon measures 24 by 14m One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Swallerton Gate (1.3 km) [Route: 271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Batworthy Miniature Pony Centre (4.7 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 73345 80335

Down Pool - Black Hill (Mary Tavy) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 52285 82404
HER: MDV127205
Short Name: PO:Down Pool
Dimensions (m): 23 x 24m
Notes: "Down Pool, Black Hill (Mary Tavy) measures 23 by 24m One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: Lydford Gorge Lower Entr (2.3 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 52285 82404

Easdon A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 73212 82349
HER: MDV127207
Short Name: PO:Easdon A
Dimensions (m): 12.5 x 10m
Notes: "Easdon A measures 12.5 by 10m One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Manaton Bus Shelter (2.1 km) [Route: 271,671]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Batworthy Miniature Pony Centre (2.8 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 73212 82349

Easdon B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 73222 82334
HER: MDV127208
Short Name: PO:Easdon B
Dimensions (m): 9 x 6.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 9 by 6.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a reave."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Manaton Bus Shelter (2.1 km) [Route: 271,671]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Batworthy Miniature Pony Centre (2.8 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 73222 82334

Goadstone Pond Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 55706 70663
HER: MDV28232
Short Name: PO:GoadsStone
Dimensions (m): 30 x 28m
Notes: "Pool on the summit of the hill near a stone row. Some of the stones from the double stone row appear to have been lost in the pool. Previously incorrectly identified from aerial photograph as an enclosure. One of over 40 pools on Dartmoor thought to have originated in the Prehistoric period."

Worth and Butler refer to this as Goatstone Pool. There is a very interesting discussion of both the origin of the name and of the cairns and stone rows on DartmoorCam: Sharpitor. See also Legendary Dartmoor: Dartmoor's Goadstone
Nearest Bus Stop: Walkhampton Memorial (2.6 km) [Route: 55,56]
Nearby sites: SX 55706 70663

Hangershell Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 65824 59588
HER: MDV127209
Short Name: PO:Hangershell
Dimensions (m): 13 x 9.3m
Notes: "A pool, one of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a prehistoric cairn. Sub-rectangular shallow pit of 12 metres by 16 metres and 0. 5 metres deep. Drained to west and east edges which show the remains of peat cutting"
Nearest Bus Stop: Ivybridge BP Garage (Stop B) (4.1 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 65824 59588

Haytor Down North A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 76269 78331
HER: MDV127210
Short Name: PO:HaytorDownA
Dimensions (m): 18 x 14m
Notes: "A pool measuring 18 by 14m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a prehistoric reave and cairn."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (1.1 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lustleigh Bishops Stone (4.0 km) [Route: 178]
Nearby sites: SX 76269 78331

Haytor Down North B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 76493 78182
HER: MDV127211
Short Name: PO:HaytorDownB
Dimensions (m): 5m
Notes: "A pool measuring around 5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a prehistoric cairn and enclosure."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (0.9 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lustleigh Bishops Stone (4.0 km) [Route: 178]
Nearby sites: SX 76493 78182

Hookney Tor North A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 69843 81721
HER: MDV127212
Short Name: PO:HookneyTorA
Dimensions (m): 15 x 9.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 15 by 9.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near a prehistoric cairn."
Nearest Bus Stop: Warren House Inn (2.5 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 69843 81721

Hookney Tor North B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 69838 81605
HER: MDV127213
Short Name: PO:HookneyTorB
Dimensions (m): 7.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 7.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop: Warren House Inn (2.5 km) [Route: 171]
Nearby sites: SX 69838 81605

Houndtor Down Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 74193 78601
HER: MDV127214
Short Name: PO:Houndtor
Dimensions (m): 50 x 17m
Notes: "A pool measuring around 50 by 17m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies south of a prehistoric cairn."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Swallerton Gate (0.6 km) [Route: 271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lustleigh Bishops Stone (5.3 km) [Route: 178]
Nearby sites: SX 74193 78601

Langstone Moor Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 55026 78879
HER: MDV127215
Short Name: PO:Langstone
Dimensions (m): 28 x 24m
Notes: "A pool measuring 28 by 24 metres. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies at the northern end of a stone row. May be on the site of a cairn"

NB. HER entry implies this could be the same as the Butler reported carn at the end of the stone row. On this website this is currently listed as a separate entry SiteID=1164 (no HER entry). The diagram page 77 (fig 30.8) shows both a mound and a pit. Could this be the pit distinct from the cairn?
Nearest Bus Stop: Merrivale Dartmoor Inn (3.7 km) [Route: 98,171,172]
Nearby sites: SX 55026 78879

Pew Tor (N side) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 53354 73597
HER: MDV127216
Short Name: PO:Pew Tor
Dimensions (m): 28 x 14m
Notes: "A pool measuring 28 by 14m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop: Tavistock Higher Longford (2.0 km) [Route: 98,171,172]
Nearby sites: SX 53354 73597

Quintins Man A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 62102 83952
HER: MDV27278
Short Name: PO:QuintinsA
Dimensions (m): 13m
Notes: "Previously identified as a prehistoric barrow, survey work in 1995 suggested this to be a natural feature. One of over 40 'sacred' pools identified by Greeves (2019) that may have prehistoric origin. Lies north of the Quintin's Man cairn."
Nearest Bus Stop: Postbridge Post Office (5.7 km) [Route: 98,171]
Nearby sites: SX 62102 83952

Quintins Man B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 62053 84056
HER: MDV127217
Short Name: PO:QuintinsB
Dimensions (m): 20 x 16m
Notes: "A pool measuring 20 by 16m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop: Postbridge Post Office (5.8 km) [Route: 98,171]
Nearby sites: SX 62053 84056

Quintins Man C Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 61972 84365
HER: MDV127218
Short Name: PO:QuintinsC
Dimensions (m): 12 x 8m
Notes: "Pool north of Quintin's Man measures 12 by 8m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period"
Nearest Bus Stop: Postbridge Post Office (6.2 km) [Route: 98,171]
Nearby sites: SX 61972 84365

Saddle Tor A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 75135 76534
HER: MDV127219
Short Name: PO:SaddleTorA
Dimensions (m): 20m
Notes: "A pool measuring 20m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. One of a group of three pools north-east of saddle Tor."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (1.8 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lemonford Caravan Park (5.9 km) [Route: 38,193]
Nearby sites: SX 75135 76534

Saddle Tor B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 75172 76553
HER: MDV127220
Short Name: PO:SaddleTorB
Dimensions (m): 16.5 x 14.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 16.5 by 14.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. One of a group of three pools north-east of saddle Tor."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (1.7 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lemonford Caravan Park (5.9 km) [Route: 38,193]
Nearby sites: SX 75172 76553

Saddle Tor C Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 75273 76526
HER: MDV127222
Short Name: PO:SaddleTorC
Dimensions (m): 14 x 10m
Notes: "A pool measuring 14 by 10m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. One of a group of three pools north-east of saddle Tor."
Nearest Bus Stop (Minor): Haytor Vale Moorlands House (1.7 km) [Route: 193,271]
Nearest Bus Stop (Major): Lemonford Caravan Park (5.8 km) [Route: 38,193]
Nearby sites: SX 75273 76526

Sourton Tors Ancient Pool

Sourton Tors Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 54596 89607
HER: MDV127223
Short Name: PO SourtonTors
Dimensions (m): 12 x 10.5 m
Notes: Pool measures 12 by 10.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period, and may have been used to deposit votive items, although these Dartmoor examples may have alternative significance as designed prehistoric elements in the landscape. Many are located on ridge tops and in conjunction with cairns, stone rows and other prehistoric features. Further research may well reveal more about these interesting features.
Nearest Bus Stop: Sourton Windard Terrace (1.4 km) [Route: 118]
Nearby sites: SX 54596 89607

Spurrells Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 65810 60059
HER: MDV127224
Short Name: PO:Spurrells
Dimensions (m): 18m
Notes: "A pool measuring around 18m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies to the north of a stone row. Livestock watering pond modified by peat cutting of 25 metres by 16 metres and 0.4 metres deep. The edges show the remains of peat cutting"
Nearest Bus Stop: South Brent Pool Park (4.4 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 65810 60059

Staldon Row Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 63293 62442
HER: MDV127226
Short Name: PO:Staldon Row
Dimensions (m): 6.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring around 6.5 metres. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies to the north of a stone row."
Nearest Bus Stop: Cornwood Crossways (4.0 km) [Route: 59]
Nearby sites: SX 63293 62442

Weatherdon Hill Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 65619 58948
HER: MDV127227
Short Name: PO:Weatherdon
Dimensions (m): 13 x 10.5m
Notes: "A pool, one of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies adjacent to the Butterdon Hill stone row. Sub-rectangular shallow pit of 11 metres by 15 metres and 0.5 metres deep. Part of disused peat cutting in the area to the south end of the stone row."
Nearest Bus Stop: Ivybridge BP Garage (Stop B) (3.4 km) [Route: 38]
Nearby sites: SX 65619 58948

Whitchurch Down (Warrens Cross) Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 51153 73688
HER: MDV127230
Short Name: PO:Whitchurch
Dimensions (m): 38 x 18m
Notes: "A pool measuring 38 by 18m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period."
Nearest Bus Stop: Tavistock Higher Longford (1.2 km) [Route: 98,171,172]
Nearby sites: SX 51153 73688

Wigford Down A Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 54650 65078
HER: MDV2311
Short Name: PO:WigfordA
Dimensions (m): 25 x 15m
Notes: This is a duplicate of SiteID=1464 and as such is marked as a duplicate. See Wigford Down 3 Reported Cairn
Nearest Bus Stop: Shaugh Prior Shaugh Bridge (2.0 km) [Route: 59]
Nearby sites: SX 54650 65078

Wigford Down B Ancient Pool

Wigford Down B Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 54694 64972
HER: MDV2368
Megalithic Portal: 3536
Short Name: PO WigfordB
Barrow Report: 12 62
Dimensions (m): 4.5m
Notes: This is a duplicate of SiteID=235 and as such is marked as a duplicate. See Wigford Down 4 Embanked Cairn Circle
Nearest Bus Stop: Shaugh Prior White Thorn Inn (1.9 km) [Route: 59]
Nearby sites: SX 54694 64972

Wigford Down C Ancient Pool

OS Map: SX 54733 64981
HER: MDV127231
Short Name: PO:WigfordC
Dimensions (m): 22 x 17.5m
Notes: "A pool measuring 22 by 17.5m. One of over 40 such 'sacred' pools identified on Dartmoor that are thought to have potentially been designed during the prehistoric period. Lies near two cairns"
Nearest Bus Stop: Shaugh Prior White Thorn Inn (1.9 km) [Route: 59]
Nearby sites: SX 54733 64981

Table of Dartmoor Ancient or 'Sacred' Pools


#Site NameShort NameOSHER
1Birch TorPO:Birch TorSX68688166MDV127183
2Black Hill A (Manaton)PO:BlackHillASX76197889MDV127184
3Black Hill B (Manaton)PO:BlackHillBSX76177847MDV127185
4Black Pool (Western Beacon)PO:Black PoolSX65505812MDV127193
5Blackaton Newtake (Hameldown)PO:HameldownSX70797897MDV7527
6Blackpool (Mardon)PO BlackpoolSX76768735MDV19004
7Bloody Pool (S. Brent)PO:BloodyPoolSX70286262MDV7955
8Bonehill DownPO:BonehillDnSX73287781MDV127194
9Brent Tor APO:Brent Tor ASX46538034MDV127195
10Brent Tor BPO:Brent Tor BSX46608030MDV127199
11Brent Tor CPO:Brent Tor CSX46648028MDV127200
12Brent Tor DPO:Brent Tor DSX46678024MDV127201
13Buckland BeaconPO:BucklandSX73567326MDV127202
14Butterdon (ENE)PO:ButterdonSX65735897MDV127203
15Cox TorPO:Cox TorSX53647621MDV26281
16Cranmere PoolPO:CranmereSX60338583MDV4381
17CripdonPO:CripdonSX73348034MDV127204
18Down Pool - Black Hill (Mary Tavy)PO:Down PoolSX52288240MDV127205
19Easdon APO:Easdon ASX73218235MDV127207
20Easdon BPO:Easdon BSX73228234MDV127208
21Goadstone PondPO:GoadsStoneSX55707065MDV28232
22HangershellPO:HangershellSX65825959MDV127209
23Haytor Down North APO:HaytorDownASX76277833MDV127210
24Haytor Down North BPO:HaytorDownBSX76497818MDV127211
25Hookney Tor North APO:HookneyTorASX69848173MDV127212
26Hookney Tor North BPO:HookneyTorBSX69848161MDV127213
27Houndtor DownPO:HoundtorSX74197860MDV127214
28Langstone MoorPO:LangstoneSX55037888MDV127215
29Pew Tor (N side)PO:Pew TorSX53367360MDV127216
30Quintins Man APO:QuintinsASX62108395MDV27278
31Quintins Man BPO:QuintinsBSX62058406MDV127217
32Quintins Man CPO:QuintinsCSX61978436MDV127218
33Saddle Tor APO:SaddleTorASX75147653MDV127219
34Saddle Tor BPO:SaddleTorBSX75177655MDV127220
35Saddle Tor CPO:SaddleTorCSX75277653MDV127222
36Sourton TorsPO SourtonTorsSX54608961MDV127223
37SpurrellsPO:SpurrellsSX65826006MDV127224
38Staldon RowPO:Staldon RowSX63296244MDV127226
39Weatherdon HillPO:WeatherdonSX65625895MDV127227
40Whitchurch Down (Warrens Cross)PO:WhitchurchSX51157370MDV127230
41Wigford Down APO:WigfordASX54656508MDV2311
42Wigford Down BPO WigfordBSX54696497MDV2368
43Wigford Down CPO:WigfordCSX54736498MDV127231

Page last updated 19/11/23