Principal Archaeological Landscape: Sweetworthy and Bagley
Exmoor National Park Authority
01 January 2011
Date last amended
On north facing slopes below Dunkery Beacon and in the valley of East Water. The PAL lies primarily within enclosed farmland but also extends onto moorland on the lower slopes of Dunkery Hill.
Description of the archaeology
Sweetworthy and Bagley comprise a group of relict settlements ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the nineteenth century. At the western end Bagley is a circular prehistoric enclosure with traces of a house platform within it. Immediately adjacent to it is a complex of ruinous stone buildings representing a post medieval deserted farmstead. There is implied continuity here spanning several millennia. At the eastern end Sweetworthy consists of three prehistoric enclosures, two smaller ones on moorland and a larger one within the enclosed fields; this enclosure appears to be multiphase. To the west of this group of prehistoric enclosures are the earthworks of a deserted medieval settlement.
This PAL is an unusual example of well preserved settlement continuity from prehistory to the medieval and post medieval periods. The concentration of settlement features is also highly unusual, comprising four enclosed settlements, a deserted medieval settlement and a deserted post medieval farmstead. The boundary forming the southern extent of the enclosed farmland comprises a large stone-faced bank with grown out beech hedge. This is a significant landscape feature in its own right, but also emphasises the importance of the location on the moorland edge with access to summer grazing, and the value of the enclosed farmland in this relatively sheltered valley.