MMO2500 - 19th Century peat cutting northwest of Alderman's Barrow (Monument)


An extensive area of peat cutting of probable 19th Century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground. The peat cuttings extend for over 500 metres.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An extensive area of peat cutting of probable 19th 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 8313 4230, on the west facing slopes of Madacombe, to the west of Aldermans Barrow. The pits are oval and rectilinear in shape, the majority of the visible features ranging in size from 5 to 10 metres across. The exception to this is a large excavation centred on circa SS 8326 4238, which is more rectilinear in form and approaching 40 metres in length. The larger pits more readily reflect the cumulative nature of peat cutting on Exmoor, where one family may cut the same peat beds or turbary, known locally as a 'turf', for generations as part of their commoners rights. In total, this area of peat cutting covers over 12 hectares of common land. 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 the general character and area of the excavations, and should not be taken as a definitive record of the extent the pits. Peat cutting has probably taken place on Exmoor from the medieval period onwards, but its heyday 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] 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: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4066-7 (13 May 1946).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 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.
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1477983, Extant 19 July 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW249
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1477983



Grid reference Centred SS 8310 4229 (468m by 447m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 8 2021 9:11PM


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