MMO2533 - 19th Century peat cutting northeast of Larkbarrow Farm (Monument)


An area of peat cutting thought to be of mid to late 19th Century date was seen as large irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

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 the northeast of Larkbarrow Farm. Two apparently discrete groups of pits are clearly visible, centred on circa SS 8212 4302 and SS 8231 4307, but the ground between them appears disturbed which may support the interpretation that the cuttings are more extensive than visible on aerial photographs. The pits range in size from less than 5 metres long to 20 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. 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. The peat extraction may cut the course of a water channel thought to be of probable nineteenth century date and may be opportunistically exploiting this earthwork following its abandonment. 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 19th Century, although cutting probably took place on a smaller scale from the medieval period 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 540/931 (F20) 4103-5 (8 November 1952).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 72, 232-3.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184. [Mapped feature: #47401 ]
  • <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. 1478333, Extant 19 July 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW282
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1478333



Grid reference Centred SS 8222 4305 (319m by 133m)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (8)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jul 19 2021 11:53AM


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