MMO108 - Possible prehistoric field system on Shallowford Common (Monument)


The remains of a possibly prehistoric field system can be seen as earthworks, which had been classified as a collection of hut circles. The area has been used for surface stone quarrying resulting in a collection of hollows and mounds.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

(SS 711441) Hut Circles (NR) [1] SS 711 441. Seven hut circles are shown on the Ordnance Survey 6 inch map. They all appear to be a natural assemblage of stones. [2] No hut circles are visible in this area of enclosed moorland containing earthfast boulders and natural shallow depressions. [3,4] The remains of a field system centred at about SS 712 440 on the north facing slopes of Shallowford Common. The area, of about 10 hectares, which has been enclosed overlooks the Barbrook to the west and is covered with rough grass and bracken. It is naturally stoney and just below the peat layer are numerous large boulders and stones, possibly glacial or the result of flooding of the Barbrook. The area has been used for surface stone quarrying, possibly as material for constructing the enclosure walls and buildings. It is possible that several small areas of this surface quarrying may have been misinterpreted as hut circles. There are also several smaller, circular hollows, about 2 to 3 metres diameter and 0.6 metres deep, which do not appear to be quarrying and may be of some military significance. A few large tree stumps still remain showing that the area was also once partly tree covered. An attempt may also have been made to plough the area at some time, probably during the early 19th Century when it was first enclosed. There are traces of old irregular walls, up to 3 metres wide and 0.3 metres high, turf covered and spread but clearly field boundaries. The best of these are to be seen on the higher ground to the east and south of the area where there is less vegetation. In the light of the field walls, which may well be prehistoric, it could mean that there are hut circles contained within the system. The area requires a closer inspection under more favourable vegetational conditions before survey. Area delineated on 1:2500 pending survey. [5] The field boundaries described by authority [5] above are clearly visible on aerial photographs. However, there is no trace of the alleged hut circles, and the visible boundaries do not appear to follow a coherent pattern. Further survey is required. A small cairn at the southern end of the system may be associated with it (see MMO109). [6,7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560.
  • <2> Monograph: Grinsell, L.V.. 1970. The Archaeology of Exmoor: Bideford Bay to Bridgewater. David and Charles Limited. 195.
  • <3> Monograph: Page, W. (editor). 1906. The Victoria History of the County of Devon. Archibald Constable and Company, Limited (London). 1. 629.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. MJ Fletcher, 9 September 1974.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1981. Worksheet in Devon HER. RCHME Field Investigation, 6 September 1994.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 3089-90 (8 November 1952).
  • <7>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #32857 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7121 4393 (213m by 110m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12240
  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 56016
  • Devon SMR: SS74SW/32
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE1300
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20293
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW30
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 35412

Record last edited

Feb 14 2021 7:02PM


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