MMO2309 - Post-medieval peat cutting north of The Warren (Monument)


A large area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on moorland north of The Warren.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Shallow and eroded rectangular peat cuttings, up to 0.5 metres deep, but generally much less, occur on nearly all parts of Elsworthy and the ridge to the west. The cuttings vary from small, 5 by 5 metres, to long cuttings that are up to 60 metres in length. These features are much more extensive than the aerial photographic evidence suggests. All of these features occur on the Ashcombe soil series. [1] A large area of peat cutting, of probable post medieval date, is visible on aerial photographs as numerous rectangular sunken pits and irregular earthworks on moorland immediately north of The Warren, Exmoor, covering an area of approximately 11 hectares. The earthworks are centred on approximately SS 7895 4152 and are fairly uniform in size and shape, mostly consisting of rectangular sunken pits aligned east-west, and measuring up to 200 metres long by 50 metres wide. It is not clear whether the peat was extracted for domestic fuel, or for turfing enclosure walls. These cuttings also lie in close proximity to a number of 19th century drainage ditches, and may be associated with the attempt by the Knight family to improve the moorland. Similar areas are visible to the east and west. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. [2,3] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor National Park Field Survey. 29 November 1982.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3158-60 (11 April 1947).
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183. [Mapped feature: #38245 ]
  • <4> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1475467, Extant 15 June 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1475467
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 18801



Grid reference Centred SS 7892 4144 (539m by 377m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 15 2021 4:10PM


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