MMO2165 - Post-medieval peat cutting on The Chains (Monument)


A large area of probable post-medieval peat cutting is visible as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks and closely associated with an area of 19th Century drainage. They were most likely abandoned in the late 19th or 20th Century.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A large area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible on aerial photographs as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on The Chains, covering an area of approximately 42 hectares. The earthworks are centred on SS 728 423 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 6-10 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved or linear pits up to 100 metres across. The cuttings are closely associated with an area of 19th century drainage, believed to date to the Knight family's land improvement activity in the area. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. Peat cutting is known to have continued on Exmoor until vey recently, and may continue in places. Similar areas are visible to the northeast and southeast. [1-4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 924-27 (29 April 1973).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority photograph. IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. 47, 143.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.



Grid reference Centred SS 7288 4226 (819m by 894m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW196
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1470624

Record last edited

Aug 18 2015 3:12PM


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