MMO2881 - Post-medieval drainage ditches on Burcombe (Monument)

Summary

An area of interconnecting post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1973. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably during the mid 19th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An area of interconnecting post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on Burcombe, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7544 3834, the ditches extend across an area of approximately 65 hectares, cutting across the contours of the slope and directing water from the higher ground into the River Barle. 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. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably during the mid 19th Century. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed. Orwin also refers to Robert Smith, the land agent for the Knight's recommendation that "sheep drains" be constructed across the boggy parts of the moors to allow cattle to graze there. [1-3] An archaeological watching brief undertaken in March 2013 as part of the MIRES project noted a silted uo ditch that was observed to have been dug through an earlier openwork (MMO2949) and may have formed part of the 19th Century drainage ditches of the area. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 618-19 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 33, 57.
  • <3> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.
  • <4> Report: Passmore, A.. 2013. Exmoor Mires project, Burcombe, Somerset: Results of an archaeological watching brief. 2.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7547 3832 (929m by 1039m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NE
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE84
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1486553

Record last edited

Mar 13 2017 3:34PM

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