MMO2887 - Post-medieval drainage ditches on Horsen Hill (Monument)


Post-medieval drainage ditches are visible as earthworks. The ditches are arranged in "herringbone" pattern, and were apparently designed to channel water from the marshy summit of Horsen Hill towards Kinsford Water.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A small area of regular post-medieval drainage ditches are visible as earthworks on the western slopes of Horsen Hill, Exmoor, above Kinsford Water. Centred at approximately SS 7837 3565, the ditches are arranged in "herringbone" pattern, covering an area of approximately 5 hectares, although it is possible they were part of a larger system which is now no longer visible. They were apparently designed to channel water from the marshy summit of Horsen Hill towards Kinsford water. According to Orwin, many miles of these ditches were cut across areas of Exmoor in an attempt to enclose the land for arable cultivation, but in most cases, they failed to provide adequate drainage. Orwin also mentions the land agent working for the Knight family, Robert Smith, who apparently advocated the construction of so-called "sheep drains" on boggy ground, which would have allowed greater areas of land to be utilised for stock. [1-3] A drainage system lies on the west edge of Horsen Hill. The ditches are now mostly silted up and obscured by reeds; they survive as narrow channels, 0.5m wide and up to 0.4m deep. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4369-70 (11 April 1947).
  • <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: Riley, H.. 2016. Archaeological walkover survey: Horsen, Exmoor. 8.



Grid reference Centred SS 7838 3565 (313m by 264m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE90
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1486596

Record last edited

Sep 11 2017 10:58AM


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