MMO2734 - 19th Century drainage ditch on Comerslade (Monument)


A large drainage ditch, probably dating to the mid 19th Century is visible as a substantial earthwork. It runs across the summit of Comerslade and was apparently constructed to channel water to two streams.

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Type and Period (1)

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Full Description

A large post-medieval drainage ditch, probably dating to the mid 19th Century is visible as a substantial earthwork linking two small unnamed streams on Comerslade, Exmoor. Beginning at approximately SS 7334 3744 the drain runs across the summit of Comerslade approximately west to east, connecting with a small unnamed stream at SS 7413 3713, just south of Kinsford Farm. Both of the streams that the ditch flows into have their source at approximately 435 above sea level, and so the ditch was clearly constructed to channel water to the two streams and thence to Kinsford Water in the east and the River Barle to the north. Along the course of the ditch, several smaller, shallower linear ditches can be seen, connecting with the main gutter at right angles. These appear to have been cut with the aim of directing water from the higher ground into the main ditch, and away from the road which lies to the southwest. There is some evidence that these smaller drains have been recut during the 20th Century. Like most of the drainage systems in the former Royal Forest, this ditch was most likely constructed as part of the Knight family's attempt at agricultural improvement in the former Royal Forest, perhaps with a view to enclosing the land as part of Kinsford Farm. It is not depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, or on any later maps, and so a precise date cannot be established. [1-3] The head of the eastern stream (MMO2734) is shown on the 1st Edition map at SS 7404 3716 and on 2020 MasterMap data at SS 7372 3720, where it is labelled "Issues". [2,4] One of the reasons that the ditch may have been constructed was to provide extra water to the irrigation system at Emmett's Grange to the east. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority Infra Red False Colour 86024 29-30 (15 June 1986).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #33180 ]
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2020. MasterMap data. 1:2,500.
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1999-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 2 September 2020.



Grid reference Centred SS 7375 3722 (921m by 581m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NW

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External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW74
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1484210

Record last edited

Sep 2 2020 2:45PM


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