MMO2534 - 19th Century peat cutting north of Larkbarrow Farm (Monument)

Summary

An area of peat extraction thought to date to the 19th Century was noted as large, irregularly shaped pits on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. The peat cutting appears to be associated with abandoned drainage ditches.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Evidence of peat cutting can be seen as large, irregularly shaped pits on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, covering an area of circa 2.5 hectares approximately 400 metres to the north of Larkbarrow Farm at circa SS 8206 4333. The pits are irregularly shaped but appear to be associated with drainage ditches of probable nineteenth century date, and it is probable that the peat cutters opportunistically exploited these linear earthworks following their abandonment, probably in the second half of the 19th Century. The expansion of the relict drainage ditches resulted in the pattern of earthworks now visible. They are mostly rectilinear in plan and often display a stepped edge which has 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. The identifiable pits vary in size but range up to 25 metres wide and over 70 metres in length. 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 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. [1-4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [5]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3065-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3060-1 (8 November 1952).
  • <3> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. P. 72, 232-3.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8206 4335 (154m by 289m) (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

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW283
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1478350

Record last edited

May 22 2017 11:18AM

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