MMO2150 - Post-medieval drainage ditches southwest of The Chains Barrow (Monument)

Summary

An area of regular post medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably sometime after 1841.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An area of regular post medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on moorland to the southwest of The Chains Barrow,Exmoor. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably around the time Frederic Winn Knight took over the running of the estate in 1841. Centred at approximately SS 7313 4173, the ditches run northwest to southeast across a southwest facing slope above an unnamed tributary of the River Barle. It appears that the ditches were designed to channel water into this tributary. The ditches are all cut in straight parallel lines, and cover an area of approximately 5 hectares. The whole area around The Chains is particularly boggy and peat covered, and it seems likely that the ditches were cut to drain the area prior to it being enclosed. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but in some areas failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed [2]. Large areas of Exmoor were successfully drained, although it appears that this area, which is still open and boggy moorland was not one of them. Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into Pinkery Canal. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3148-49 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. pp 32-33.
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. pp 138-39.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #32911 ]

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7317 4173 (357m by 203m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW182
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1470502

Record last edited

Feb 10 2021 6:26PM

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