MMO2310 - Post-medieval peat cutting on Exe Plain (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
A large area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible on aerial photographs as numerous sunken rectangular pits and irregular earthworks, covering an area of approximately 75 hectares on Hoar Tor, Exe Plain and the western edge of Lanacombe, Exmoor. The earthworks are centred on approximately SS 7647 4247 and are fairly uniform in size and shape, mostly consisting of rectangular sunken pits which measure up to 220 metres long by 50 metres wide. It is not clear whether the peat was extracted for domestic fuel, or for turfing enclosure walls; however, in places the cuttings lie in close proximity to 19th Century land improvement drains, and it is possible that they are also related to the drainage attempt of Exmoor by the Knight family in the mid 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 very recently, and may continue in places. Similar areas are visible to the north on Brendon Common, and the south on Dure Down. [1-5] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites.  This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SEM7408 Aerial photograph: Meridian Air Maps. 1977-1978. Infrared False Colour Aerial Photography. MAM 13/77 113-14 (20 May 1977).
- <2> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS 95026 098-99 (12 March 1995).
- <3> SEM7440 Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage. P. 143.
- <4> SEM7230 Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. PP. 232-33.
- <5>XY SMO7566 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183. [Mapped feature: #38794 ]
- <6> SEM8135 Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
- <7> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1475487, Extant 15 June 2021.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7639 4237 (1099m by 1079m) Aerial Survey|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (4)
- Parent of: Post-medieval peat cutting on Exe Plain (Monument) (MEM24382)
- Parent of: Post-medieval peat cutting on Exe Plain (Monument) (MEM24383)
- Related to: Post-medieval drainage system north of Blackpitts (Monument) (MMO2346)
- Related to: Post-medieval peat cutting northwest of Brendon Two Gates (Monument) (MMO2311)
Related Events/Activities (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1475487 (Pastscape entry: 1475487)
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE159
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1475487
Record last edited
Jun 15 2021 4:04PM
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