MMO2266 - Medieval or post-medieval peat cutting on Exford Common (Monument)

Summary

An extensive area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped, densely packed pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 8584 4120. The pits vary in shape and size, from small rectilinear pits less than 5 metres across to large amorphous excavations over 50 metres in length. The larger pits more readily reflect the cumulative nature of peat cutting on Exmoor, where one family may cut the same peat beds or turbary, known locally as a 'turf', for generations as part of their commoners rights. In total, this area of peat cutting covers over 25 hectares of common land, extending eastwards from Porlock Post onto Exford Common, crossing the parish boundary between Luccombe and Exford, which runs east to west through the centre of the cuttings. Similar and more extensive cuttings can be seen to the east. Due to the difficult nature of the evidence which can vary in appearance on aerial photographs from year to year, the transcription attempts only to convey the area and general character of the excavations, and should be taken only as indicative of the extent of individual pits. The heyday of peat cutting on Exmoor was probably in the first half of the 19th Century, although small scale cutting probably continued well into the 20th Century. [1-5] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 F20 4274-5 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 968-9 (29 April 1973).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA ADAS 504/304 (8 August 1991).
  • <4> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 72, 232-233.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185. [Mapped feature: #38787 ]
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8570 4118 (822m by 532m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SE
Civil Parish EXFORD, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish LUCCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE144
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1473224

Record last edited

Mar 9 2020 1:24PM

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