MMO2312 - Post-medieval peat cutting on Brendon Common (Monument)


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

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Protected Status

Full Description

A large area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible on aerial photographs as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on Brendon Common, stretching from Withycombe Ridge in SS 74 NE to Brendon Two Gates on the B3223 and covering an area of approximately 116 hectares. The earthworks are centred at approximately SS 7640 4442 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 10 to 12 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved pits up to 100 metres long by 30 metres across. Several of the pits show signs of having been reworked, or cut in stages, creating a "stepped" effect to the edges of the pit. 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 south and west. [1-4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on this practice and specific information on some of the sites present on Brendon Common, including spade marks. [5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 676-77 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P 232-233.
  • <3> Monograph: Riley, H. and Wilson-North, R.. 2001. The Field Archaeology of Exmoor. English Heritage.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report. 32-36.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1475503, Extant 15 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7658 4446 (1343m by 1592m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74SE

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Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Related Articles (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE161
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1475503

Record last edited

Jun 15 2021 3:55PM


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