MMO2731 - Possible post-medieval drainage system northeast of Aclands Farm (Monument)


A small area of regular drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs. It is not clear whether they are 19th Century in date or contemporary with Aclands Farm.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A small area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on moorland to the northeast of Aclands Farm, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7322, four parallel ditches running north to south are visible, connected to a pair of ditches running east to west. It seems likely that the four parallel ditches were designed to channel water across the east facing slope to the pair of ditches, which then directed the water down slope to the River Barle. The system is small, covering an area of only 0.8 hectares. The ditches were most likely cut in an attempt to drain the land some time after 1841. Aclands was built after this date according to Burton [2]. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but failed to provide adequate drainage for much of the land to be enclosed. Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into specially constructed leats. These ditches are believed to have been constructed as part of the Knight family's attempt at land improvement, and it is possible that this small system at Aclands was an attempt to copy their methods. [1-4] The full description from Burton states that most of the farmsteads on Exmoor had been constructed by c. 1850, with only three farms being constructed since. This includes Aclands Farm. [2] Aclands Farm does not appear on the 1st or 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps but is shown on the 1946-8 Royal Air Force aerial photographs. It is not clear whether the drainage system predates the farmstead, or if it is contemporary with it. The GIS mapping has been extended to reflect the evidence shown in the 1946-8 photographs. [5-7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 1041-42 (29 April 1973).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 87.
  • <3> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 33.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped features: #42123 ; #47729 ]
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1484189, Extant 30 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW71
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1484189



Grid reference Centred SS 7318 3977 (187m by 354m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Nov 30 2021 2:45PM


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