MDE11725 - Possible prehistoric hut circles or later charcoal burning platforms in Barton Wood (Monument)


It is suggested that three oval platforms may be prehistoric hut circles, though they may have been reused or originated as later charcoal burning platforms.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 7495 4885. The remains of three level oval platforms are situated on gently sloping ground in Barton Wood some 70 metres from the southern banks of the East Lyn River. They may be associated with a further two platforms 100 metres to the northeast (MDE11941). Platform A. SS 7493 4885. Measures internally 13 metres north-northeast to south-southwest by 8 metres. Its eastern side, cut through by a modern track, is marked by an inner facing upper scarp, 2 metres wide, cut into the slope to a depth of 0.8 metres. The western downslope side is defined by a scarp 2 metres wide and 0.6 metres high. These scarps, and the interior, have been disturbed by tree roots as well as the track. A fading of the western scarp in the north where it nears the track may mark the site of an entrance. The presence of walling is suggested by slight rises in the track as it cuts the platform both on the northern and southern sides; these features may however prove to be natural bands of subsurface shillet. Platform B. SS 7494 4881. A smaller, more clearly defined earthwork is measures internally 8 metres north to south by 6 metres. Its upper eatern side is formed by an inner facing scarp, 2 metres wide, cut back into the slope to a depth of 0.6 metres. The western downslope side is marked by a prominent curving scarp, 1.5 metres wide and 0.7 metres high. An easing of the scarps in the north and south may mark the positions of entrance gaps. Platform C. SS 7496 4886. Cut into a steeper slope a few metres north of the track, this level platform measures internally 6 metres by 3 metres. Its rear uphill inner facing scarp, 1.4 metres wide, is cut some 0.9 metres deep into the slope and the frontal scarp is 2 metres wide, and 0.9 metres high. The classification and date of these features (including those at MDE11941) are not certain. A and B (and the two at MDE11941) are tentatively identified as prehistoric hut circles: they are cut into the natural slope; they are defined by encircling scarps or banks and they have possible entrance gaps. However, their topographical position within a deep wooded valley, is not commonly associated with prehistoric settlement on Exmoor also there are no traces of an associated field system. Another context for the construction of such features is the medieval and post-medieval woodland economy. Examples of charcoal burning platforms (see MDE11680 and MDE11741) some 800 metres to the southwest around Watersmeet, exhibit a less complex form, appearing as no more than slight ovoid platforms, averaging 9 metres by 4 metres on steep natural slopes. Platform C, though slightly smaller, clearly fits into this category. If these features are interpreted as prehistoric huts it does not preclude their reuse at a later date in the context of the woodland economy. The reuse of occupation sites for charcoal burning in the post-medieval period has been well attested at Cowal, on the west coast of Scotland. A and B surveyed at 1:500; C surveyed at 1:2500. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Article in monograph: Elizabeth B Rennie. 1994. The recessed platforms of western Scotland 12(6) . 204.
  • <2> Collection: RCHME Exeter. 1993-1999. Exmoor Project.
  • <3> Technical drawing: Sainsbury, I.. 1994. Brendon, oval platforms at SS 74 NW 64/ink survey . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <4>XY Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 15 July 1994. [Mapped features: #40255 Platform A, ; #40256 Platform B, ; #40257 Platform C, ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 926230, Extant 15 December 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53793
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53794
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53795
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 53796
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/222
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/222/1
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/222/2
  • Devon SMR: SS74NW/222/3
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21522
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21523
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21524
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21525
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW64
  • National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 926230



Grid reference Centred SS 7494 4883 (30m by 50m) (3 map features)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Dec 15 2021 1:24PM


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