MMO2459 - 19th Century drainage ditches on Swap Hill (Monument)

Summary

Post-medieval drainage ditches are visible as a system of earthworks on aerial photographs. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, with the construction of Tom's Hill Farm around 1850.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on south facing slopes of Swap Hill, Exmoor parish. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, associated with the construction of Tom's Hill Farm around 1850. Centred at approximately SS 8235 4177, this small area of drainage covers an area of approximately seven hectares. Orientated predominantly northeast to southwest, they were possibly intended to channel run off water towards Sparcombe Water and Allcombe Water. Three roughly parallel rows of small pits, no more than two metres in diameter, are also visible centred on circa SS 8231 4180. Their function is unclear but they do not appear to be military in nature and may be associated with the drains. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but this technique did not address the underlying issue of compacted ironpan soils and failed to provide adequate drainage for improvement [3]. Similar but much more extensive drainage systems are visible to the west towards Warren Farm, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into the various contour leats. Many drainage systems appear to be associated with areas of peat cutting, and several small pits can be seen to the southeast of this area of drainage, but it is probable these post date the improvement attempts and were opportunistically exploiting the drainage excavations. [1-4] 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 CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3164-5 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3103-4 (8 November 1952).
  • <3> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 32-33, 56.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #43438 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1477817, Extant 20 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8236 4177 (461m by 245m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (10)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW227
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477817

Record last edited

Jul 20 2021 1:33PM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.