MMO2467 - Post-medieval drainage system at Sparcombe Water Head (Monument)


Post-medieval drainage ditches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A system of at least seven post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs at Sparcombe Water Head. The ditches were possibly cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at agricultural improvement associated with the construction of Tom's Hill Farm around 1850. Centred on approximately SS 8193 4149, this drainage system covers an area of roughly 0.7 hectares. Similar, but much more extensive drainage systems are visible to the north and west towards Warren Farm, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into the various contour leats. 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. [1-3] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 3162-4 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S. + Sellick, R.J.. 1970. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. David and Charles Limited. 2nd Edition.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #47408 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1477860, Extant 20 July 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW 232
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477860



Grid reference Centred SS 8191 4149 (97m by 111m)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (5)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 20 2021 1:16PM


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