MMO2444 - Medieval to modern peat cutting southeast of Alderman's Barrow (Monument)


An extensive area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An extensive area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped, densely packed pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 8384 4218. The pits vary in shape and size, from small rectilinear pits 5 metres across to long narrow amorphous excavations over 50 metres in length. It is possible that the larger pits reflect the cumulative nature of peat cutting on Exmoor, where one individual or family may cut the same peat beds for generations as part of their commoners rights. This area of peat cutting circa 2.2 hectares of common land, crossing the parish boundary between Luccombe and Exford which runs east to west across the eastern edge of the cuttings. Similar and much more extensive cuttings can be seen to the east. Due to the difficult nature of the evidence which can vary in appearance on aerial photographs from year to year, the transcription attempts only to convey the area and general character of the excavations, and should be taken only as indicative of the extent of individual pits. The heyday of peat cutting on Exmoor was probably in the first half of the 19th Century, although small scale cutting probably continued well into the 20th Century. [1-3] 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> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3099-3100 (8 November 1952).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. p 72, 232-3.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #38801 ]
  • <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. 1477670, Extant 20 July 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8383 4217 (203m by 156m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW217
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477670

Record last edited

Jul 20 2021 3:01PM


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