Principal Archaeological Landscape: Hawkcombe Head
Exmoor National Park Authority
01 January 2011
Date last amended
The area comprises two spring heads: Hawkcombe Head and Ven Combe and the watershed between them. This forms a dramatic topographical feature between the two major valley systems: Hawk Combe (on the east) running down to Porlock and, (on the west) the East Lyn valley system which eventually reaches the sea at Lynmouth some 8km away.
Description of Archaeology
The area contains an extensive late Mesolithic hunter gatherer site. Since 1947 thousands of flints have been found there, especially in the vicinity of the spring head at Hawkcombe. In 2001 the University of Bristol and Exmoor National Park Authority began a programme of small scale excavations at both spring heads; this work has established the existence of contemporary buried archaeological features, such as hearths and postholes. In 2013, the DIG Porlock project fieldwalked the area around the Ven Combe spring recovering around 700 pieces of flint which included material from the Early Mesolithic to the Bronze Age.
This is the most extensive and well known Mesolithic site in the National Park. Around 15,000 pieces of flint have so far been recovered. The presence of buried features such as hearths and post holes is rare and confirms the exceptional preservation of the archaeology.