MDE11702 - Modern drainage system on Butter Hill (Monument)


A field system, thought to be apparent on aerial photographs taken in 1947, was shown to be a modern drainage system formed by natural and artificial drainage channels. A possible footpath was, however, also noted.

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Type and Period (3)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 705 451. Low banks forming derelict fields seen by McDonnell [1] on aerial photographs [2]. There is no trace of any fields in the area indicated by McDonnell. The area, shown as open moorland on the 1904 Ordnance Survey map [3] has been improved and is now permanent pasture. The features seen by McDonnell and interpreted as banks and fields appear to be a drainage system formed by combination of natural and artificial drainage channels. The natural gulleys, all dry, are rather sinuous and broad (about 5 metres wide and 1 metre deep) and appear to have been artificially straightened or improved to facilitate drainage. The new field drains are evident as very low, long banks which cover drainage pipes. [3,4] The features identified by McDonnell were visible on many of the aerial photographs available to the NMP survey, and in the opinion of this authority it can be confirmed that the features do not form banks and fields boundaries. However, it is also the opinion of this authority that not all of the earthworks McDonnell recorded were constructed as artificial drainage channels, as summarised by the above authority. The curvilinear feature centred on SS 7048 4512 is possibly a footpath which may connects with a hollow way at its northen end, at SS 7045 4526. [5,6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. Reference SS7045a, SS7044d.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/CPE/UK/1980, 4083 (April 1947).
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 23 June 1994.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/910 (F20) 3163-4 17-OCT-1952.
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 926142, Extant 15 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 704 450 (160m by 364m)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS74NW/44
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 17879
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20493
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW47
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 926142

Record last edited

Dec 15 2021 10:00AM


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