MMO2766 - 19th Century peat cutting on western side of Squallacombe (Monument)

Summary

A large area of peat cutting of probable mid 19th Century date. It is not clear whether the peat was extracted for domestic fuel, or for turfing enclosure walls. The cuttings were most likely abandoned in the late 19th or 20th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A large area of peat cutting, of probable post-medieval date, is visible as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on the western side of Squallacombe, Exmoor, close to the county boundary between Devon and Somerset. Centred at approximately SS 7257 3845 the earthworks cover an area of close to 11 hectares, and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 3 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved pits up to 15 metres across. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. The earthworks do not extend beyond the county boundary and are entirely within Somerset. The workings most likely date to the mid 19th Century, after the acquisition of the Former Royal Forest of Exmoor by the Knight Family, since before this date the area would have been within the forest. It is not clear whether the peat was extracted for domestic fuel, or for turfing enclosure walls. The cuttings were most likely abandoned in the late 19th or 20th Century. Peat cutting is known to have continued on Exmoor until very recently, and may continue in places. [1-3] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F63) 178-79 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 232-33.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #38947 ]
  • <4> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7257 3840 (389m by 495m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NW
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 73 NW106
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1484452

Record last edited

Aug 31 2020 10:36PM

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