MMO2476 - 19th Century drainage system at Beckham (Monument)


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

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Full Description

A system of post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs, across the slopes of Beckham. 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 Farm around 1850. Centred on approximately SS 8133 4202, these earthworks cover an area of approximately 5 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 west. The drains are arranged in an irregular herringbone pattern draining centrally into an unnamed tributary to Long Combe. Similar, but much more extensive drainage systems are visible to the south and west towards Warren Farm, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into the various contour leats. [1,2] 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] A metric survey of a herringbone drainage system on Swap Hill was carred out in July and August 2019. The drainage system may date to the 1820s and 1830s and date to John Knight's ownership of Exmoor Forest. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4069-70 (13 May 1946).
  • <2>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #38247 ]
  • <3> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1477889, Extant 20 July 2021.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2019. Metric survey on Swap Hill, Larkbarrow, Exmoor, Somerset, Exmoor National Park ELB19: Project report. Hazel Riley.



Grid reference Centred SS 8137 4197 (417m by 309m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (4)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW235
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477889

Record last edited

Aug 9 2021 4:08PM


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