MMO2478 - 19th Century peat cutting on southern slopes of Swap Hill (Monument)


A small area of peat cutting can be seen as irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards to the north of the track bed of the proposed Porlock to Simonsbath railway.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A small area of peat cutting of probable 19th Century date can be seen as irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 8197 4171. The visible pits are rectilinear in shape and vary in size from less than 5 metres in length to almost 30 metres in length, and probably represent the deepest features. However, more extensive but shallower workings are probably present but are visible only as a disturbed ground surface. Due to the difficult nature of this 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. These pits are physically associated with 19th Century drainage ditches and were probably opportunistically exploiting the excavations of the failed drainage system in the second half of the 19th 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: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3162-4 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 232-3.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #38803 ]
  • <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. 1477891, Extant 20 July 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8197 4171 (37m by 45m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW236
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477891

Record last edited

Jul 20 2021 11:28AM


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