MMO2489 - Medieval or post-medieval peat cutting on Swap Hill (Monument)

Summary

An area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as as numerous irregularly shaped, densely packed pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A relatively small area of peat cutting of possible medieval to 20th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped, densely packed pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 8185 4191, on the higher north facing slopes of Swap Hill, Exmoor parish. The pits vary in shape and size, from small rectilinear pits less than 5 metres across to large amorphous excavations that extend for over 80 metres in length. The larger pits may more readily reflect the cumulative nature of peat cutting on Exmoor, where one family may cut the same peat beds or 'turf' for generations as part of their commoners rights. In total, this area of peat cutting covers roughly one hectare of common land. Similar but much more extensive cuttings can be seen to the north. Due to the difficult nature of the evidence which can vary in appearance on aerial photographs from year to year, the transcription attempts only to convey general character of the excavations and should only be taken as indicative of their area. 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. [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]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3162-4 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 72, 232-3.
  • <3> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <4> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8184 4190 (161m by 163m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW242
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1477930

Record last edited

Jan 3 2017 10:47AM

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