MMO2503 - Hollow Ways, Madacombe (Monument)


A number of hollow ways of medieval and post medieval date. They may indicate a indicate a significant point of entry into the former Royal Forest of Exmoor as they pass between Madacombe and Hurdle Down, one of the few access points into to the forest from the north-east of Exmoor.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Several hollow ways or tracks are visible on aerial photographs as earthworks centred on circa SS 83594245, immediately to the north of Aldermans Barrow. These routes may be evidence of long-standing transhumance routes of possible medieval origin. Up to five metres wide, at least seven individual routes can be seen, some displaying evidence of multiple phases of wear, extending for over 300 metres. They are, in general, orientated roughly north-east to south-west, but this probably reflects the fact that the tracks are probably taking advantage of one of the few natural access points into to the former Royal Forest of Exmoor from the north-east, in particular from the Vale of Porlock, as they pass between the valleys of Madacombe and Hurdle Down. These natural barriers continue to the north-west as Chalk Water and the east as Horner water. The potential significance of this route may also be indicated as the tracks pass through the junction of three parishes, (Porlock, Luccombe and Exford, not including the Exmoor parish), potentially organised so as to gain access to this point. Once through this pinch-point, the tracks fan out to head in all directions from west to south-west. There is some evidence for linear earthwork banks towards the eastern end of these tracks, which may be the remains of field boundaries or enclosures associated with the management of livestock as they pass into or exit the Royal Forest. (1-2)

Sources/Archives (2)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3099-100. 08/11/1952.
  • <2> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.



Grid reference Centred SS 8353 4242 (434m by 262m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1477997

Record last edited

Oct 23 2013 2:44PM


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