MMO2535 - 19th Century peat cutting on Kittuck Hill (Monument)


An area of peat cutting in the vicinity of Larkbarrow Farm is thought to be of mid to late 19th Century date.

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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 a circa 5 hectares area of Kittuck Hill centred on circa SS 8154 4370. The pits are irregularly shaped but appear to be associated with drainage ditches of probable 19th 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 80 metres in size. 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. [1-5] 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 CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3066-7 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 4106-7 (8 November 1952).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. NMR SS 8143/1/349-352 (SF1459) (1 March 1979).
  • <4> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 72, 232-3.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <6> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <7> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.



Grid reference Centred SS 8152 4373 (411m by 230m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (2)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO2537
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW284
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW286
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1478356
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1478372

Record last edited

May 22 2017 11:17AM


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