MMO2166 - Post-medieval peat cutting southwest of The Chains Valley (Monument)


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

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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 [1,2] as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on moorland the the southwest of The Chains Valley, covering an area of approximately 14 hectares. The earthworks are centred on SS 742 414 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 8 to 10 metres, to rectangular linear pits up to 300 metres across. The cuttings are closely associated with an area of 19th Century drainage, believed to date to the Knight family's land improvement attempt in the 19th Century. 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 [3]. Similar areas are visible to the south, north and northwest. [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. RAF 543/2821 (F64) 175-76 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3151-53 (11 April 1947).
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #38882 ]
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.



Grid reference Centred SS 7422 4151 (919m by 383m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW 197
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1470631

Record last edited

Oct 6 2020 4:48PM


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