MEM23895 - Medieval hollow ways on Horsen Hill (Monument)


An area of well preserved, braided hollow ways lies adjacent to the drainage system MMO2884 to the north of Horsen Hill.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An area of well preserved, braided hollow ways lies adjacent to the drainage system MMO2884 to the north of Horsen Hill. The earthworks occupy an area 400m SW/NE and 100m NW/SE. A typical example, centred at 279414 136130 is 15m long, 4m wide and up to 1.5m deep. The hollow ways continue in fields to the north and east. These are the remains of routes giving access to the main areas of summer grazing in the former Royal Forest and may well date from the early medieval period. By the early 19th century, this route was mapped on the Inclosure map for Exmoor as ‘No 12 Public Bridle Road’ which ran from North Molton Common, to Wintershead, across Ferny Ball, to a crossing of the Barle, and on to Withypool Common. [1] A major feature of Sherdon's archaeological landscape is a braided hollow way towards the north. Riley identified these for the first time and notes that the route of the hollow ways (running roughly east – west) is on the Inclosure map for Exmoor as part of ‘No 12 Public Bridle Road’. The hollow ways are somewhat at risk from erosion: along their northern edge the drainage ditch of the field boundary is eroding, in places to a depth of over 1.5m, and at times spills a considerable quantity of eroded material at its eastern end. Along the southern edge of the hollow ways is a stream that has eroded into a deeply incised channel in places. This latter may have started as a hollow way itself but if that is the case water erosion has considerably deepened and sharpened its profile. The braided hollow ways recorded on the north part of Sherdon also extend eastward onto Ferny Ball. In this area their form has been somewhat truncated by agricultural activity – presumably ploughing to improve pasture – and they are much less prominent as earthwork features than on Sherdon. [2]

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Report: Riley, H.. 2016. Archaeological walkover survey: Horsen, Exmoor. 8.
  • <2> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. M. Gillard; 25 Sept. 2018.



Grid reference Centred SS 79406 36174 (709m by 398m) (GPS derived)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

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Other Statuses/References

  • None recorded

Record last edited

Sep 27 2018 4:06PM


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