As the ground starts to rise again towards Butterdon, I pass a taller boundary stone, marked on the OS as "Longstone", while the trig point on the hill ahead is another visual prompt. The first Butterdon cairn is already looking like a monster, silhouetted on the skyline. When I reach it, I find a small triangular stone in front of it, but can't work out if it "belongs" to anything else – perhaps it's part of the boundary line, but it looks to be of a different character and I make out (I think) a low semi-circular bank that appears to incorporate the stone. Another, even bigger, cairn marks the northern end of the summit. This is a huge cairn, 30 metres across and still 4 metres high. From here there are excellent views all around, with every hill apparently topped by more cairns.
English Heritage along with the Dartmoor Preservation Association and a few volunteers have undertaken the project of surveying and restoring many of the cairns on Dartmoor. Over many days last year the cairns on Western Beacon and Wetherdon Hill were done.
This years project started on 21st April 2006 with five of the cairns on Butterdon Hill. The largest were chosen as they were in the worst state of repair, having had their shape altered by the public making shelters with the stones. This was mostly done by digging pits into the cairns and building walls with the stones taken out.
On 21st and 22nd of April 2006 eight volunteers set about surveying , recording and reconstructing these five cairns. The larger of the cairns were surveyed using a plain table and the smaller done using the offset method. When this was finished the walls were taken down and the stones replaced into the holes and any of the tumbled stones were replaced into hollows around the edges in order to get the cairn back into the domed shape they would have had when first built.
You will see from the photographs ,especially the cairn at SX654585, what was achieved.