MDE1067 - Prehistoric hut circles and enclosures on South Common (Monument)


Two prehistoric subcircular enclosures on a gentle north facing slope of South Common, each containing a hut circle, with two further hut circles to the immediate south.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

Full Description

Hut circles and enclosures lying in open moorland on a gentle north facing slope. SS 6977 4476: An oval enclosure 45.0 metres northwest to southeast by 33.0 metres, formed by a turf covered earth and stone bank now up to 0.7 metres high and 6.0 metres wide. Breaks in the bank in the north-east and west are probably modern. At the northwest end of the enclosure is a free standing hut circle 130 metres in overall diameter with banks 0.4 metres high and an entrance in the south-east. This enclosed hut is similar to those in Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire which have been classified as type IIIa, and possibly IA by the Royal Comission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments (Caern Vol III). SS 6970 4469 A single hut circle 12.0 metres in diameter and now only 0.2 metres high. The walling is now a tumbled mass of stone with no apparent entrance. SS 6967 4474 A roughly circular enclosure 36.0 metres in overall diameter, with tumbled stone banks 3.5 metres wide and 0.3 metres high and an entrance in the East. Disturbed ground within the southeast quadrant of the enclosure probably indicates the site of a single hut circle. Located during field investigation. Surveyed at 1:2500. [1,2] Centred at SS 6972 4475 on gentle north-facing slopes are two subcircular enclosures containing hut circles, and to their immediate south are the remains of two further hut circles and slight evidence for cultivation. The prehistoric features lie within an area of former (19th Century) enclosure and evidence for this, in the form of slight field boundaries and even slighter narrow ridge and furrow, survives in the area. At SS 6967 4474 is a near circular enclosure some 31.4m in diameter. It is defined by a turf-covered stony bank 3.1 metres wide and averaging 0.4 metres in height. This has been overploughed and is therefore ragged in places and some stone has been dragged to the surface by the plough. No clear entrance survives although there are breaks on the northern and eastern sides. Within the enclosure at SS 69675 44731 are the remains of a slight platform 6.8 metres in diameter, defined by a prominent downslope scarp some 0.4 metres in height. It is clearly the remains of settlement but is a stance rather than a hut circle. Upon it on the north-east side is a large stone slab measuring at least 1.2 metres by 0.95 metres. At SS 6978 4475 is an oval enclosure measuring 45.5 metres south-east to north-west by 30.3 metres south-west to north-east. It is very well preserved and does not appear to have been overploughed. The enclosure is defined by a turf-covered stony bank averaging 5.4 metres in width and 0.7 metres high. Traces if internal coursed walling is visible on the south-west side at SS 69766 44784 for some 1.7 metres. No clear entrance is visible although there is a break in the bank for some 10.6 metres on the eastern side. On the south side is a break 1.7 metres wide, which appears to be modern. A mound of spoil 3.7 metres in diameter and 0.3 metres high lies on the outside of the enclosure bank to the west of the break. Further disturbance of the enclosure bank at the extreme north-west also appears to be modern. Within the enclosure at SS 69766 44759 is an exceptionally well preserved hut circle. It measures 10.5 metres bank to bank and 14 metres overall. It comprises a largely turf-covered stony bank 3.2 metreswide and 0.4 metres high. An entrance, 1.5 metres wide, is visible on the south-east. The interior of the hut circle is 0.2-0.3 metres below the external ground surface. At SS 69706 44690 is a hut circle 9.3 metres in diameter. It is defined by a low, turf-covered, stony bank, 2.3 metres wide and 0.3 metres high. The feature seems to have been overploughed. A possible entrance 1.9 metres wide is visible on the southern or upslope side, although damage on the northern side might have obscured an entrance break here. The hut lies close to the foot of a pronounced eastward facing lynchet scarp, 0.7 metres high. As such it would appear to lie on the edge of a former field. At SS 69746 44664 is a very disturbed hut circle. It has a diameter of 5.7 metres, and is defined by an arc of bank on the northern side, and by a cut scarp into the natural hill-slope on the south. An ill defined gap on the south-eastern side may mark a former entrance. Surveyed 19th August 1993 at 1:2500 scale. [3] The enclosures and hut circles described above are clearly visible on aerial photographs from the 1940s up until the most recent available, from 2003. The larger enclosure and internal hut circle at SS 6978 4475 appear to be better preserved than the smaller enclosure at SS 6967 4474. The two hut circles outside the enclosures are not as clearly definied on aerial photographs; indeed the hut circle at SS 69746 44664 is not visible on vertical photographs at all and can only be seen in oblique. On oblique photographs taken in 1979 and 2003, additional circular features are visible between the two enclosures and further south. These may be natural features or vegetation, or they may represent the remains of other hut circles which are less well preserved and therefore previously unidentified. [5-8] SS 69746 44664 Hut circle on south common. Good on 1947 aerial photograph. SS 6977 4476 Low bank forming an elliptical enclosure or pound with hut circle attached to the west exterior side. Good on 1947 aerial photograph. [9] SS 6978 4475 The hut circle outside the enclosure suggested by R. Macdonnell from aerial photographs ([9]) could not be located. He has however also recorded the enclosure itself and the internal hut. SS 6970 4469 Hut circle survives as recorded in 1972. [2] SS 69746 44664 Hut circle not located on the ground. [10] Two enclosures on South Common. SS 6967 4474 Situated halfway down gently sloping ground which was formerly moorland, this is the less prominent of the two [enclosures] having been almost obliterated by ploughing. SS 6978 4475 Situated halfway down gently sloping ground which was formerly moorland, this is the more prominent of the two. It has not been disturbed but the land around it has been ploughed up and is now rough pasture. Lies some 380 metres north of the corner of field by roe barrow and 252 metres east of the z-bend in the parish boundary. A roughly circular bank composed of smallish boulders bedded in earth. [12] The site was visited as part of the Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment of 2009. The western enclosure received a survival score of 0 and the eastern one a score of 4. [15] The site was surveyed in March 2015 as part of the 2015 Exmoor Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment. Both enclosures were given a survival score of 0. [16] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [17]

Sources/Archives (17)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Mr D. Greenacre, West Woolhanger.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Field Investigators Comments. MH Buckley, F1, 15 August 72.
  • <3> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I. & Wilson-North, R.. 1993. South Common, SS 64 SE 20, 21, 22, 25, 46, 47, 54/ink survey . 1:2500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 287-88 (16 August 1972).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 6944/1/190 (SF 1460) (7 March 1979).
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 6944/12 (23000/14) (6 March 2003).
  • <8> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <9> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS6944j; SS6944h.
  • <10> Unpublished document: Griffith + Timms. 1981. Site Visit.
  • <11> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF/CPE/UK/1980. 4085.
  • <12> Index: Ministry of Works. 1968. List of Ancient Monuments.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 13/1067 (May 1977).
  • <14> Index: Ordnance Survey. Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division Record Card. SS64SE25.
  • <15> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2010. Scheduled Monument Condition Assessment 2009, Exmoor National Park.
  • <16> Report: Gent, T. and Manning, P.. 2015. Exmoor National Park Scheduled Monument Condition Survey 2015. Archaedia.
  • <17> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 34742, Extant 10 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SE/101
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SE/102
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SE/22
  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS64SE/55
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12124
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2088
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 2089
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 31720
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 31721
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/23
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE23
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20148
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20149
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20230
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21206
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21207
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO36
  • Local List Status (No)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE25
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 34742
  • Scheduled Monument (County Number): DV 707



Grid reference Centred SS 6970 4474 (287m by 295m)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (4)

Record last edited

Nov 10 2021 12:38PM


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