MMO2473 - Post-medieval drainage ditches at Beckham and East Pinford Hill (Monument)


Post-medieval ditches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs forming an extensive drainage system of across the slopes of Beckham and East Pinford Hill.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A system of post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs, across the slopes of Beckham and East Pinford Hill, Exmoor parish. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at agricultural improvement of the former royal forest, possibly associated with the construction of Tom's Hill model Farm around 1850. Centred on approximately SS 80474161, these earthworks cover an area of approximately 19 hectares and form one of three relatively small and discrete drainage systems that feed into tributaries to the south of Long Combe. Two more can be seen immediately to the east. The drains are arranged almost in a classic herringbone pattern and are centrally aligned upon a field boundary which forms part of the boundary to the Tom's Hill Farm estate to the north. Similar but even 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. 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. 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4192-3. 13/05/1946.
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #32579 ]
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1477882, Extant 20 July 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW233
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477882



Grid reference Centred SS 8040 4162 (708m by 384m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (7)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 20 2021 1:05PM


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