MDE1035 - Post-medieval slate quarries on Trentishoe Down (Monument)


A series of small slate quarries on a natural terrace which runs obliquely up the north side of Trentishoe Down. These were previously thought to be a group of prehistoric hut circles.

Please read the .

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

A well defined cultivation terrace flanked on northern side by one single and a group of three hollows suggestive of hut circles or rockshelters. A single hut circle lies south of the group of three on the opposite side of the terrace. Visited 19th June 1952. Cultivation terrace lies approx between SS 6285 4786 and SS 6312 4773. Hut sites were situated at: A - SS 6295 4784 B - SS 6298 4783 C - SS 6299 4782 D - SS 6301 4781 E - SS 6299 4779. [1] A natural terrace which ascends to and then follows the 1000 foot contour. If it has been utilized on the level part, where it is 12.0 metres wide it would almost certainly be medieval or later usage and of minor interest. The suggested hut circles could not be identified. [2] The site was visited by McDonnell in 1985 and no evidence of cultivation was noted. [3] A natural terrace formed presumably by a step in the rock strata runs obliquely up the north side of Trentishoe Down. The bedrock outcrops on the upper and lower sides of the terrace and has been exploited in the form of small quarries and scoops. It is these quarry delves that have been misinterpreted as hut circles. The natural terrace would have formed an easy access way to the quarries.The quarries themselves exploit a natural, purple slate. This type of stone has been used for the numbered corner marker stones on the inclosure strips on Holdstone Down; it is easily split and, being soft, can be readily inscribed. It seems likely that the quarries were used by the Inclosure Commissioners for this purpose (see MDE8959). [4] A natural terrace is visible on aerial photographs, with a number of extractive pits cut into the terrace. The terrace itself extends in an approximately east-west direction for 130 metres, measuring up to 17 metres wide. At least eight clearly definied extractive pits are visible as circular and semi-circular cuts into the terrace from the roadside on the south, with each cut measuring between 8 and 15 metres across. Two small linear cuts are also visible, at SS 6290 4797 and SS 6296 4797, which may represent trackways between the road and the quarry. These pits closely resemble the stone quarries seen elsewhere on Exmoor, and it seems likely that these quarries were used to provide stone for the 1870 enclosure attempt. Neither the quarries nor the terrace are depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. [5,6] Monument record reviewed as part of NRHE to HER pilot project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. S Willy, 30 June 1952.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. MJ Fletcher, 15 August 1972.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Site visit, R McDonnell, 19 November 1985.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 2 July 1993.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 051-52 (15 April 1972 ).
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <7> Archive: Historic England. 2016. NRHE to HER prototype website test. 34646.



Grid reference Centred SS 629 479 (171m by 41m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS64NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64NW/14
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12092
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12093
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12094
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12095
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12096
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12097
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/15
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/15/1
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/15/2
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/15/3
  • Devon SMR: SS64NW/15/4
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20206
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20207
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20208
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20209
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20210
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20211
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO17
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 NW2
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 34646

Record last edited

Aug 17 2020 12:01PM


Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.