MMO2882 - Post-medieval drainage ditches across Halscombe and Deer Park (Monument)


Post-medieval drainage ditches are visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. They were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempts at agricuiltural improvement in the area.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A area of complex interconnecting post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs as earthworks extending across Halscombe and Deer Park, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7709 3852, the ditches extend across an area of approximately 61 hectares, occasionally following the contours of the slopes but mostly cutting across. The smaller ditches flow into larger gutters or leats, which in turn drain into the River Barle. Other similar ditches and drainage systems are visible in the surrounding areas, many appearing to drain into natural watercourses or specially constructed leats. They were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempts at agricuiltural improvement in the area. According to Orwin, many miles of these ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed. This system may be related to the one visible immediately east on Little Halscombe, but appears slightly different in form and has therefore been recorded separately. [1-3] These are mentioned in a report on a non-intrustive walkover survey of the proposed mire restoration area on Deer Park, undertaken by the Historic Environment Officer for the Exmoor Mires Project. [4] Specific ditches were recorded during a large scale metric survey of an area of earthworks on Halscombe undertaken by Hazel Riley. These ditches are detailed in child records (MEM22577, MEM22580, MEM22581 and MEM22583). [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 616-17 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 33, 57.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190. [Mapped feature: #33235 ]
  • <4> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2013. Archaeological walkover surveys on Deer Park, Exmoor. 15, 18.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2013. Metric Survey of Halscombe, Simonsbath, Exmoor. 8.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1486556, Extant 22 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7707 3831 (1289m by 1213m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (6)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE85
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1486556

Record last edited

Nov 22 2021 8:20PM


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