Prehistoric Dartmoor Walks, walking the Stone Rows and Stone Circles of Dartmoor
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Dartmoor Site: Laughter Tor Stone Row

Laughter Tor Stone Row

This site is featured on the Postbridge: Multiple Sites on Lakehead hill near Bellever walk (SX65217539). The photos here are of Laughter Tor Double Stone Row and the longstone (Butler Vol. 2, Map 28.12). The longstone is 2.4 m high and was found prostrate on a cairn which was excavated by Burnard (see twenty-second Report of the Barrow Committee below). The cairn contained "a great quantity of charcoal and peat ashes". The longstone was restored in 1903.

The double stone row heads to the longstone and is essentially broken in to two sections with a large gap of around 120m which had been robbed out for the newtake wall which crosses the row. The pits of removed stones can still be seen. The double row at the longstone end has 8 small stones remaining. The other end of the row has larger stones with a blocking stone. The total length of the row is 164m.

According to Butler there was a second stone row almost parallel to this one starting about 12m west of the longstone. About 5 pairs of these stones are apparently still visible just above the turf. The Barrow Committee reported the excavation of a number of other cairns in the vicinity one of which "contained nearly a wheelbarrowful of charcoal".

See also: Guide to Dartmoor Stone Rows

Bibliography & references

Butler, J. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Vol. 2. - The North (Devon Books, 1991)
Butler, J. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities: Vol. 5. - The Second Millennium B.C. (Devon Books, 1997)
Pettit, Paul. Prehistoric Dartmoor (David & Charles, 1974)
Worth, R.H. Worth's Dartmoor (David & Charles, 1971)

External Links

Legendary Dartmoor: The Prehistoric Complex of Laughter Tor

Excavated Laughter Tor Cairn (Barrow Report 23)

Excavated Laughter Tor Cairn (Barrow Report 23)

Extract from Twenty-Second Report of the Barrow Committee

Source: Report & Transactions of the Devonshire Association Vol. 35 (1903) (spelling and punctuation is from the original article).

The following is Mr. Burnard's contribution

Lar Tor Newtake

There are eight small cairns lying in Lar Tor Newtake, south of Lar, or Laugh Tor (6 in. O.S. Devon, 107 N.E.). None are marked on the Ordnance Survey maps. Three of these were examined this spring, and all disclosed pits in the "calm", or subsoil, more or less filled with charcoal.

No. 1, nearest the wall dividing Brimpts and Lar Tor Newtake, a dozen feet in diameter, possessed an oval pit in the "calm" containing a good deal of charcoal.

This pit was 2 feet long, 15 inches wide, and 16 inches deep.

No. 2, nearest the gate leading into Higher Dunnabridge Newtake, was 22 feet in diameter, with a round hole sunk 2 feet deep in the "calm", and with a diameter of 16 inches.

It contained nearly a wheelbarrowful of charcoal.

No. 3 is one of a series of small cairns five in number, and is the most easterly of the set. This also has a pit in the "calm" containing charcoal. No. 2 of this set has been carted away for the sake of its stones, and 4 and 5 are apparently untouched.

There was no ring of stones round either cairn, but all these interment holes were protected and covered by stones leaning inwards, and on the top of these a flat stone was laid (see section of pit in No. 3 Cairn).

There is a small cairn at the foot of the prostrate menhir which stands at the head of a stone row which is partly in Lar Tor Newtake and partly in Brimpts Newtake. This small cairn was explored, and a great quantity of charcoal and peat ashes, or what appeared to be peat ashes, was underneath.

This is the first record of charcoal and ashes at the foot of a Dartmoor menhir.

A ruined cairn was also examined in Brimpts Newtake, but without result.

Laughter Tor Stone Row

Laughter Tor Stone Row
Laughter Tor Stone Row

Laughter Tor Stone Row

Laughter Tor Stone Row
Laughter Tor Stone Row
Laughter Tor Stone Row
Laughter Tor Stone Row

Page last updated 6/8/11