MEM15419 - Post-medieval charcoal burning platform in Horner Wood (Monument)


A post-medieval charcoal burning platform on the north facing upper slopes of Cloutsham Ball.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

One of numerous charcoal burning platforms on the north facing upper slopes of Cloutsham Ball, overlooking Horner Water. The platform measures approximately 13 metres by 10 metres, and was excavated in 2005 as part of the Exmoor Iron project. Two phases of charcoal production were identified, a possible break in use or recutting of the platform indicated by a layer of stony hillwash material containing no charcoal. No diagnostic dating finds were recovered but a substantial charcoal sample was collected with short-lived examples selected for radiocabon dating, although this remains to be carried out. However, the presence of a veteran pollarded oak towards the rear of the platform is thought to indicate a date prior to the 16th Century. [2] It is possible charcoal from this platform was used at the Iron Mill immediately to the north but the charcoal assemblage retrieved fom that site was of slightly different composition. [3] The oak to the rear of the platform was one of 10 trees woodcore sampled with the intention of assessing their age, their role to surrounding woodland management and whether they may have been contemporary with the iron working complex to the north in Horner Wood. Unfortunately the cores of most had suffered rot and although it was not possible to obtain dates prior to the 19th Century, or match the pollard wood structures to that of roundwood from charcoal from the iron mill, the age of the pollards is thought to exceed 400 years. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Report: Gale, R.. 2001. Horner Wood, Exmoor: The Analysis of Charcoal Fuel Deposits from a 16th-17th Iron-Working Mill. P. 8-9.
  • <2> Report: Juleff, G. + Bray, L.. 2007. Exmoor Iron: An Exploration of the Impact of Past Iron Production on the Environmental and Cultural Landscapes of Greater Exmoor: Post-Excavation Assessment. P.17-18; 74; 157-9; 171-2; 180-181.
  • <3> Report: Gale, R.. 2006. Exmoor Iron-Working Project: Horner Wood Charcoal Platform, 2005 - Charcoal Analysis.
  • <4> Report: Gale, R. + Groves, C.. 2003. Horner Wood: Wood-Cores from Selected Oak (Pollards and Maidens) and Birch Trees at Cloutsham Ball. P.6.



Grid reference SS 895 435 (point) (Approximate)
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (1)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (0)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Park: Exmoor National Park

Record last edited

Aug 27 2014 10:01AM


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