MMO2634 - Post-medieval drainage system north and west of Pinkworthy (or Pinkery) Pond (Monument)


An area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. These were most likely cut as part of agricultural improvements at the same time as the construction of Pinkworthy (or Pinkery Pond), around 1825.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

An area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on moorland to the north and west of Pinkery Pond, Exmoor. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably at the same time as the construction of Pinkery Pond around 1825. Centred at approximately SS 7221 4251, the ditches run in serval varying direction, apparently channelling water from natural springs and streams into Pinkery Pond. The ditches are nearly all cut in straight parallel lines, and cover an area of approximately 14 hectares. It is not clear from the aerial photographs whether these particular ditches were designed to drain the area or were intended to fill Pinkery Pond. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but in some areas failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed [2]. Large areas of Exmoor were successfully drained, although it appears that this area, which is still open and boggy moorland was not one of them. Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into Pinkery Canal. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting. [1-4] A large scale metric survey of the Pinkworthy (or Pinkery) Pond environs was undertaken by Hazel Riley in 2012 as part of the Exmoor Mires Project. An area of drainage channels was seen on the north and west sides of Pinkworthy (or Pinkery) Pond, probably dating from the 1830s or 1840s; these were part of the Knight family's improvements on Exmoor. [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 543/2821 (F65) 178-79.
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 33.
  • <3> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 62-63.
  • <4>XY Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182. [Mapped feature: #47017 ]
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2012. Metric survey of Pinkery pond and its environs. 17.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1480138, Extant 19 January 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 7223 4248 (512m by 426m)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument): ECH12(104)
  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument): ECH12(105)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW276
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1480138

Record last edited

Jan 19 2022 3:11PM


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