MMO2930 - Post-medieval peat cutting on Horsen Hill (Monument)


A large area of peat cuttings on Horsen Hill. It is not clear whether the peat was extracted for domestic fuel, or for turfing enclosure walls. The cuttings were most likely abandoned in the late 19th or 20th Century.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

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 covering an area of approximately 24 hectares on Horsen Hill, Exmoor. The earthworks are centred on SS 7926 3556 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 7 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved pits up to 65 metres across. Due to the vast number of pits visible on aerial photographs, only a representative sample has been transcribed, indicating distribution and form. Peat cutting is known to have continued on Exmoor until very recently, and may continue in places. In places the peat cuttings are overlain by post-medieval field boundaries, suggesting that they predate the enclosure of the land around Horsen Hill. [1-3] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [4] The remains of peat cutting cover an area 700m E/W by 150m N/S on the summit of Horsen Hill. The remains comprise numerous irregular and sub-rectangular hollows up to 0.5m deep. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4367-68 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 232-3.
  • <3> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.
  • <4> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2016. Archaeological walkover survey: Horsen, Exmoor. 12.



Grid reference Centred SS 7925 3558 (1264m by 542m) (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 NE133
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1487423

Record last edited

Sep 11 2017 12:13PM


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