MDE8252 - Post-medieval field system with ridge and furrow on Molland Common (Monument)


Field banks and tracts of ridge and furrow over most of Molland Common testify to early attempts at enclosure and improvement.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 807 306. Low banks forming regular fields on Round Hill. Some of these appear to have been ploughed. Elsewhere, an extensive field system of fields enclosing areas of narrow rig ploughing. Very good on 1977 aerial photographs. [1-3] System of banks and ditches on the south facing slopes of Moorhouse Ridge. Area of ridge and furrow (drainage). Banks 1 to 1.5 metres wide by 0.25 to 0.3 metres high, some with east to west ditches. The banks are sinuous, not straight. SS 820 298. Boundary banks extant with associated 'lazybeds'. Three main areas of Smallacombe, Anstey and Whitemoor. The field system is extant, plus cropmarks of banks and ditches and 'narrowing' at c. SS 8070 2985 and SS 8099 2974. SS 807 306. Extant banks and ditches of Cussacombe Field system, running the length of the valley at SS 8000 3100. Also two rectangular depressions 1.5 to 3 metres long with associated mound on downslope - possibly peat digging? SS 8269 3139. Field system on north facing slope of Danes Brook. Associated with mound at SS 8270 3132? (MDE20849) SS 8159 3219. Parallel ditches of ridge and furrow type, plus bank and ditch running east sto stream and curving around from the road - "lazybeds". [4] Molland Common (centred at SS 820 305) extends to some 660 hectares, lying between modern enclosed land to the south and the Dane's Brook to the northeast. Aerial photograph transcription [3] reveals field banks and tracts of ridge and furrow over most of the area. These testify to earlier attempts to enclose and improve the Common. An aerial photographic transcription at 1:2500 of the whole of Molland Common has been requested from the Air Photographic Unit of the RCHME. [5] An extensive relict field system of probable post-medieval date is visible across around 690 hectares of Molland Common on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred approximately on SS 8203 3028. The field system is effectively divided into two by the northwest to southeast ridge of Molland Common. On the southwest facing slopes of the Common the relict boundaries abut extant field systems. With the exception of very clearly defined fields to the south of Ridgway Cross, particularly on the east facing slopes between Moor Lane and Triss Combe, the southern fields appear larger more fragmentary in appearance than the northern fields. The larger size may be a reflection of the marginally less precipitous gradient of the southern slopes. The more fragmentary appearance possibly reflects poorer survival of the earthworks, perhaps due to the number of trackways that incise the southern slopes. Narrow ridge and furrow is visible within a number of the fields, the ridges spaced on average 3 metres apart, although it is not clearly visible within the majority of fields on White Moor or Gourte Mires. Isolated areas of ridge and furrow with no visible associated boundaries can also be seen, as at circa SS 8175 2966. The field system is marginally clearer as it continues to the southeast on West Anstey Common, recorded separately. The field systems are more clearly visible on the northeast facing slopes. Regular and narrow rectilinear fields enclosing ridge and furrow are visible following Danes Brook for over 2 kilometres, from the extant enclosed fields to the west of Cloggs Farm to Upper Willingford Bridge. The boundaries extend to the southwest to enclose a similarly extensive area over Moorhouse Ridge and Black Ball. Possibly the most regular fields in this area are visible extending southwards from the gentler slopes to the northeast of the summit of Round Hill towards Ridgway Cross. Much of this information is based upon a transcription carried out by the Air Photographic Unit of the RCHME. Very few significant details were added during the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. For details about which aerial photographs were used for the transcription, consult the RCHME survey report. [6-8] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [9]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. 106G/UK/1420/3288, 1655/4250 (11 July 1946).
  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/106G/UK/1420/3283 (15 April 1946).
  • <2> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS8029+30B,SS8129A,SS8229A,SS8130A,SS8131A,SS8131A,SS8230A,SS8231A,SS8330A,SS8329A,SS8428A,SS8429A.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. 12/39-4 (May 1977).
  • <4> Report: Bannister, N.R. and Bannister, D.E.. 1992. Historic landscape survey of the Molland Estate, Nr South Molton, Devon. A9, A10, A23-25, A28, A39, A36 (May/June 1992).
  • <5> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 January 1993.
  • <6> Unassigned: Hegarty, C.. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. 28 April 2009.
  • <7> Archive: Dyer, C.A.. 1993-1994. RCHME: Molland Common, Devon.
  • <8> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 604906, Extant 2 February 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR (Devonshire): SS82NW/22
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18360
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18368
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 18370
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 54005
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 54021
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 54029
  • Devon SMR: SS82NW/96
  • Devon SMR: SS83SW/11
  • Devon SMR: SS83SW/14/1
  • Devon SMR: SS83SW/33
  • Devon SMR: SS83SW/9
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20836
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20844
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20846
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21548
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21556
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE21562
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SE73
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NBR Index Number: AF1268375
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 604906



Grid reference Centred SS 818 308 (3259m by 3470m)
Map sheet SS83SW

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Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Related Articles (2)

Record last edited

Feb 9 2022 4:44PM


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