MMO2306 - Post-medieval peat cutting west of Blackpitts Farm (Monument)


A large area of peat cutting most likely abandoned in the late 19th or 20th Century. In February 2007, several dams were built across the peat cuttings in order to promote regeneration of moorland bog vegetation.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible as numerous rectangular sunken pits and irregular earthworks on moorland immediately west of Blackpitts Farm, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7623 4171, the cuttings cover an area of approximately 1.5 hectares, and are fairly uniform in size and shape, mostly consisting of rectangular sunken pits measuring up to 100 metres long and 25 metres wide. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. It is not clear whether the peat was used for domestic fuel purposes or for turfing enclosure walls. Peat cutting is known to have continued on Exmoor until very recently, and may continue in places. Similar areas of peat cutting are visible to the north, south and west. [1-4] In February 2007 several dams were built across the peat cuttings as part of Exmoor National Park's Mire Restoration Project, in order to promote regeneration of moorland bog vegetation. The cuttings are therefore no longer visible. [5] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [6] During a walkover survey by Cornwall Council for the Mires Project, a large area of peat cuttings was confirmed in this area of Exe Head - Blackpitts. [7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 072-73 (12 March 1995).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 232-33.
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. P. 143.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183. [Mapped feature: #38945 ]
  • <5> Report: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2008. The Exmoor Mire Restoration Project: Mid Project Report (July 2006 - Jan 2008).
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <7> Report: Kirkham, G. and Taylor, S.. 2008. Exmoor Mire Restoration Project: Archaeological Survey on Moorland Areas at Alderman's Barrow Allotment, Blackpitts-Exe Head, North Twitchen, Roosthitchen and Verney's Allotment. Cornwall County Council Historic Environment Service (Projects). p. 12; no. 3.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1475426, Extant 15 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7623 4170 (153m by 170m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE155
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1475426

Record last edited

Jun 15 2021 4:16PM


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