MDE20387 - Possible medieval or post-medieval field system on Ilkerton Ridge (Monument)


A field system with clearance mounds was noted during survey in 1981. It was thought to be prehistoric but may date to a medieval or later attempt to enclose the area.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

SS 7234 4453. At the south end of Ilkerton Ridge are various low stone and earth walls appearing to be part of a prehistoric field system. A small standing stone, a circular platform and several small conical mounds are also visible. Site covers approximately 100 yards by 50 yards. Walls are c.3 to 5 feet wide and in the region of 6 inches high. The western wall is higher and may be a double wall. [1] Slightly different sketch plan produced. Further shallow banks noted to east, one of which includes a small suboval feature which may be a gateway. Eardley-Wilmot's "double" wall may in fact be a single robbed and scattered wall. Preece suggests the site may be a prehistoric field system or a medieval stock enclosure with possible counting gate. [2] SS 7234 4454. No field system could be seen at the reference given or elsewhere in the vicinity. The only feature that could be described as 'low stone and earth walls' was at SS 7227 4458 where there are two linear turf and heather covered mounds with a stony content. The southern one is 6 metres northnorthwest to southsoutheast by 3 metres; 4 metres to the north is a parallel mound, 11 metres by 3 metres. There is a slight southern 'lynchet like' extension of the eastern side of this northern mound which combined with the southern mound may have been interpreted erroneously as a double wall. The gap between the two mounds may have been interpreted as a 'gateway'. The purpose, or period of the mounds is not clear. No standing stone, circular platform or small sub-oval feature could be seen however there are a few irregular stony mounds which may be attempts at clearance but these could be natural features. [3] The relict field system is difficult to discern in an area of dense heather and gorse. Three sides of a field were surveyed, enclosing the north, west and east sides of a field measuring perhaps 100 metres by 100 metres. The field boundaries are low, stony, heather covered banks some 4 metres wide and 0.5 metres high. On the south and east sides of the relict field system are groups of field clearance mounds. These are quite substantial features, comprising circular, stony mounds, 3 to 4.9 metres in diameter and 0.3 to 0.5 metres in height. Two of these mounds, at SS 7240 4459 and SS 72443 4458 were interpreted as barrows by Hazel Eardley-Wilmot [1]. The form of the relict field system and the clearance mounds and their location close to existing enclosure suggests that they are not prehistoric in origin but relate to the enclosure of this area in the historic period. Such features are difficult to date. The nearest settlement is Folly, a smallholding in 1838 but "in ruins" by 1891 [4,5]. The layout of the relict field system corresponds with the western edge of the Folly smallholding and it may well be associated with an abandoned attempt to enclose more land for this holding. Such an enterprise is difficult to date but the name "Folly" suggests a fairly late date, perhaps in the 17th or 18th Centuries. The Ordnance Survey map of 1804-5 of the area does not show Folly or its holding, suggesting that it may date from the early 19th Century, although the mapping on this document can be somewhat schematic, particularly in more remote areas [6]. Furzehill is a much older settlement, mentioned as early as 1199 [7], and the location of Folly and its relict field, at the southernmost edge of enclosure, suggests it was laid out at a late date in the sequence of enclosure. Two upright stones were located in this area by Hazel Eardley-Wilmot. The larger of the two stones was named the Sheepstone by its discoverer. It lies within an area of relict field system at SS 7229 4459. The second stone lies at SS 7233 4464 by the junction of two relict field banks and close to track. The measurements are set out below: Stone Length Width height Sheepstone 65cm 23cm 32cm By field corner 40cm 20cm 6cm Hazel Eardley-Wilmot also noted a group of five prone stones [1]. The stones lie at SS 7241 4459, close to a track and do not appear to be part of any archaeological feature. The features were recorded at a scale of 1: 10 000 using differential GPS by the English Heritage AS&I team (Exeter). [8] The field system described above could not be seen on aerial photographs due to dense vegetation in the area. However, two small mounds resemblling field clearance mounds are likely related to the field system described (see MMO490). [9,10] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [11] SS 7226 4461. The remains of a Bronze Age field system were noted on the southern side of Ilkerton Ridge during field survey following a wildfire in 2022. The system was noted to be associated with a newly discovered stone row (MEM25449). It includes spread, stony banks up to 3.5 metres wide and 0.7 metres high; however, the full extent of the system was not determined. N.B. The references to two standing stones within this Monument record have been amalgameted with the record for the stone alignment. [12,13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1>XY Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. H Eardley-Wilmot and E Mold, Worksheet and sketch plan, 4 July 1981. [Mapped feature: #33378 Generic location of earthworks, [1]]
  • <2>XY Archive: Devon County Council. Various. Devon SMR / HER records / parish files - Exmoor records. A Preece, Worksheet, 8 July 1992. [Mapped feature: #33378 Generic location of earthworks, [1]]
  • <3>XY Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 8 September 1994. [Mapped features: #47012 Sheepstone, ; #47013 Unnamed standing stone, ; #47014 Clearance mound, ; #47015 Clearance mound, ]
  • <4> Map: 1840. Lynton and Lynmouth Parish Tithe Map and Apportionment.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. Somerset 32 SE 1891.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. Various. Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date) . Two inch 1804-5, Drawing number 33.
  • <7> Article in serial: Chanter, J.F.. 1906. The Parishes of Lynton and Countisbury. Transactions of the Devonshire Association. 38. 114-224.
  • <8> Unpublished document: Riley, H.. Field Investigators Comments. English Heritage Field Investigation, 2007.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72314 282-83 (16 August 1972).
  • <10> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <11> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1043708, Extant 17 January 2022.
  • <12> Report: Riley, H.. 2022. Walkover survey on Ilkerton Ridge, Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon, Exmoor National Park: Project report. Hazel Riley. p 15, IR067.
  • <13> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 10 November 2022.

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 14131
  • Devon SMR: SS74SW/68
  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MMO490
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE12833
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW102
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1043708



Grid reference Centred SS 7236 4458 (140m by 100m) (5 map features)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 10 2022 1:43PM


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