MMO2500 - Peat Cutting, North-West of Alderman's Barrow (Monument)

Summary

An extensive area of peat cutting of probable nineteenth century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground. The peat cuttings extend for over 500 metres over the west facing slopes of Madacombe, to the west of Aldermans Barrow.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An extensive area of peat cutting of probable nineteenth 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 83134230, 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 83264238, 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 nineteenth century, although small scale cutting probably continued well into the twentieth 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. 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.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8310 4229 (468m by 447m) (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

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1477983

Record last edited

Aug 18 2015 2:55PM

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