MMO2508 - Medieval to modern peat cutting on Lucott Moor (Monument)


An extensive area of peat cutting probably largely of 19th Century date, but possibly containing elements from the medieval period to the 20th Century. The peat cuttings extend across much of the highest ground of Lucott Moor.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

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 at c. SS 8498 4384 on Lucott Moor. The pits extend for over 1.5 kilometres across the highest reaches of Lucott Moor, mostly in excess of 460 metres above Ordnance Datum. Many of the identifiable features are simple oval or rectilinear pits, ranging in size from 5 to 10 metres. Exceptions to can be seen to the north and south of Lucott Moor. To the south, around c. SS 847 431, the cuttings are both less regular in shape and longer, approaching 80 metres in length. To the northeast of Lucott Moor, particularly around c. SS 850 438 and SS 853 444, the cuttings are substantially larger again, in places nearing 200 metres across. The larger pits may more readily reflect the cumulative nature of peat cutting on Exmoor, where one family may cut the same peat beds, known locally as 'turfs', for generations as part of their commoners rights. 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. Nonetheless, the cuttings can be seen to cover over 35 hectares of Lucott Moor. 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. [1-5] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [6]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 106UK/1501 4202-4 (F20) (13 May 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3053-4 (8 November 1952).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR MAL 76046 201-2 (25 June 1976).
  • <4> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 72, 232-3.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185. [Mapped feature: #38808 ]
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <7> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2012. Archaeological walkover survey on Lucott Moor (LLM12).



Grid reference Centred SS 8500 4380 (768m by 1516m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW257
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478030

Record last edited

Jul 19 2021 4:55PM


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