Dartmoor Explorations

A collection of walks, discoveries, insights and pictures of exploring Dartmoor National Park


Steve Grigg and Frank Collinson

The warren at Vag Hill lies on its southern slopes and is said to date from the 17th century and comprises twenty five pillow mounds and three vermin traps. Also on the slopes, there is the outline of a warren house (near Vag Hill Tor) overlooking the Dart valley. The house is known as “Warren Pit”. The warren is mentioned both by RG Haynes, a well known authority on warrens from circa 1970, Jeremy Butler in his Atlas of Antiquities and online in the Pastscape record.

RG Haynes states that: “The warren of about 520 acres had its boundaries recorded in a lease of 1613; these were defined as waste ground lying between the river Dart on the west and southeast, and from thence to Yartor on the north and from Yartor to Corndon Tor on the north and east to the west of the Rowbrook hedge and so on to Logator on the east and so on to the river Dart.”

Vag Hill Map
Vag Hill is not marked on OS Maps. This drawing shows the approx. location of some of the key features in the area. Also of note in this area are Bronze Age hut circles, enclosures, reaves and medieval longhouses.
Edge of car park at top of Dartmeet Hill looking towards path to Vag Hill. 
Yar Tor from Vag Hill
One of many pound walls around Vag Hill. View to Bench Tor.
Evidence of a Warren. A Pillow mound at SX67939 72590
More pound walls. The picture has Mel Tor and Bench Tor in the background
The heart of the settlement
VT Map
These overlays show the location of the three Vermin Traps from the Jeremy Butler “Atlas of Antiquities” publication on the OS Map. The table is the RG Haynes descriptions of the vermin traps with his grid references and those of pastscapes
VH 7
Vermin trap (ref 2). Very faint overgrown V shape to the right of the wall. SX68078 72669. Shown in Butler Atlas of Dartmoor Antiquities, RG Haynes booklet and Pastscape.org.uk.
VH 8
This shows the Vermin Trap (ref 2), “V” shape a bit more clearly.
VH 9
Pillow mound at SX67897 72566
VH 10
Pillow mound with three trees. SX67870 72575
VH 11
Another Vermin trap (ref 3), ill defined but trying to use my pole (on right) to show one wall. Shown clearly on Butler map. SX67875 72557
VH 12
Another view of the Vermin Trap (ref 3)
VH 13
The author is not convinced of this one. The Grid Reference is provided by Pastscapes.org.uk but is not on Butler map. SX67934 72524. I think either Butler map is wrong or Pastscapes is wrong as this and the previous VT are quite close along the same pound wall. All my sources of information only show 3 VTs in this Warren
VH 14
View over the “double” Dart valley towards Combestone Tor
VH 15
Another Pillow mound at SX67504 72721
VH 16
Final Vermin trap (ref 1). Mentioned by Butler, Haynes and Pastscape.org.uk. SX67430 72750.
VH 17
This Trap (ref 1) is classic “X” on both sides of a pound wall.
VH 18
Yet another pillow mound. SX67447 72648
VH 19
Near “double” Dart with view to Combestone Tor.
VH 20
Vag Hill Warren House (aka Warren Pit). Vag Hill Tor can be seen on the hillside, mid distance.
VH 21
The Warren House is rather overgrown
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