MMO2145 - Post-medieval field system above Short Combe (Monument)


A post-medieval field system consisting of banks and ditches is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. The field system is closely associated with an apparently contemporary complex drainage system and hedge ditches.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A contour leat running south of Pinkery Canal (MSO6847) ends at the head of Short Combe with drainage ditches so may have been used for irrigation. [1] A 19th Century contour leat runs in a well preserved condition to SS 7271 4098 where it is met by a series of embanked drains running off marshy ground to the east at the head of Short Combe. [2] A post-medieval field system consisting of banks and ditches is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks on moorland above Short Combe to the north of Goat Hill, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7293 4100, and extending over an area of 3 hectares, the field system consists of several ditches surrounded by banks which encloses the northern end of Short Combe. Up to six small subrectangular enclosures or paddocks are created by the banks, varying in size from 60 to 100 metres long. The field system is closely associated with a complex drainage system laid out in a "herring-bone" pattern and it seems likely that the two are contemporary. The drainage system is very similar in size and form to those seen elsewhere in the area which are believed to date to the Knight family improvements of the 19th Century. A large number of these "herring-bone" ditches were cut across Exmoor, particularly in the years after 1841, when Frederic Winn Knight took over the estate. It seems likely that the field system represents a planned area of enclosure, perhaps associated with the farms at Driver or Pinkery, which was abandoned due to the difficulties in drainage. None of the features in this area are depicted on the 1st or 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps. [3-8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. M Aston, 11 July 1977.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 29 June 1995.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3148-49 (11 April 1947).
  • <4> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. pp 33-34.
  • <5> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. pp 138-39.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1904.
  • <8>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #32916 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 7286 4097 (271m by 162m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MSO10888
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW177
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1470358
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33027

Record last edited

Feb 14 2021 5:28PM


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