MMO2768 - Post-medieval peat cutting southwest of Cornham Ford (Monument)


An area of peat cutting visible on aerial photographs as numerous small pits and earthworks. It may have been extracted for domestic fuel or for turfing enclosure walls. They 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 on aerial photographs as numerous small pits and irregular earthworks on Horcombe, southwest of Cornham Ford, Exmoor and covering an area of approximately 2.5 hectares. The earthworks are centred on SS 7466 3834 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square or rectangular pits measuring 7 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved or branching trenches up to 45 metres across. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. It is likely that these cuttings were worked mainly in the mid to late 19th Century, following the acquisition of the former Royal Forest by the Knight family. Prior to that date this area would have been within the forest boundaries. Peat cutting is known to have continued on Exmoor until very recently, and may continue in places. A similar area visible to the west may have been in use at the same time; the pattern of pits and trenches are quite similar. [1-4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [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. NMR OS/73087 619-20 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96507 44-45 (30 March 1996).
  • <3> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 232-33.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #38949 ]
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1484469, Extant 1 December 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7467 3833 (188m by 256m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW108
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1484469

Record last edited

Dec 1 2021 10:25AM


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