MMO2312 - 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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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 10-12 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]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 676-77. 17/04/1973.
  • <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.



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

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Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1475503

Record last edited

Aug 18 2015 4:39PM


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