MMO2883 - Post-medieval drainage ditches on Deer Park (Monument)


Post-medieval drainage ditches visible on aerial photographs as earthworks. The drainage system may be associated with mining activity at the Blue Gate iron mine, but it may also be part of the large complex of drains visible to the east.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

An area of complex interconnecting drainage ditches, of probable post-medieval date, are visible on aerial photographs as earthworks on Deer Park, around the area of Blue Gate Iron mine. Centred at approximately SS 7628 3849, the ditches extend across an area of approximately 17 hectares, mostly following the contours of the west facing slope, although some cut across them contours. The ditches appear to drain water away from the mining area and direct it towards various watercourses and tributaries of the River Barle. The drainage system may be associated with the mining activity, but it may also be part of the large complex of drains visible to the east. According to Orwin, many miles of ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor but failed to provide adequate drainage for much of the land to be enclosed. Orwin also mentions the Knight family's land agent, Robert Smith, who advocated the construction of "sheep drains" across the boggy parts of the moor. [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] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96507 41-42 (30 March 1996).
  • <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: #33234 ]
  • <4> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2013. Archaeological walkover surveys on Deer Park, Exmoor. 15, 18.
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1486560, Extant 22 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7636 3835 (742m by 731m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE86
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1486560

Record last edited

Nov 22 2021 8:23PM


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