MMO2532 - 19th Century peat cutting on Lucott Moor (Monument)

Summary

An area of peat cutting which probably dates to the 19th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Evidence of peat cutting can be seen as large irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards on a northwest facing slopes on Lucott Moor, above Weir Water, Porlock Common. The visible group of pits is relatively small, covering an area of approximately 1 hectare, centred on circa SS 8440 4399. The pits range in size from 10 to 40 metres across, and are mostly rectilinear in plan but often displaying a curved long edge and stepped shorter edges. These characteristics have been interpreted as evidence of sustained and systematic peat cutting, perhaps by several generations of the same family in a preferred location, as part of their commoners' rights. Surrounding the pits, areas of differential vegetation growth indicates that the ground surface is disturbed which may support the interpretation that the cuttings are more extensive than can be observed on aerial photographs. 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 area and character of the excavations and should be taken only as indicative of the extent of individual pits. Several of the pits to the south of the group appear to abut the course of the Simonsbath to Porlock Mineral railway. If this is the case, they are therefore probably of mid 19th Century date or later. However, further fieldwork is required to establish the relationship between to two classes of feature. The heyday of peat cutting on Exmoor was in the first half of the nineteenth century, although cutting probably took place on a smaller scale from the medieval period well into the twentieth century. [1-4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK1501 (F20) 4206 (13 May 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4085 (11 July 1946).
  • <3> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 72, 232-3.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #38924 ]
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1478315, Extant 19 July 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8439 4398 (103m by 145m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS84SW
Civil Parish PORLOCK, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW281
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478315

Record last edited

Jul 19 2021 11:59AM

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