MMO2931 - Post-medieval peat cutting on Burcombe (Monument)


A large area of peat cutting on Burcombe. 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.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

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 14 hectares on Burcombe, Exmoor. The earthworks are centred on SS 7553 3798 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 8 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved pits up to 63 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. Similar areas are visible to the east on Deer Park and Little Halscombe. [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] 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] A subrectangular mound was identified at SS 75379 38035 measuring approximately 10 metres by 7 metres and up to 0.35 metres high, with a central hollowed area approximately 0.15 metres deep. It was suggested either to be a peat drying or storage area, or an area left by the removal of adjacent peat. [6] Field survey in 2012-4 suggested the mound identified by [7] was likely to be the byproduct of peat cutting activities. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73087 618-19 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 232-3.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190. [Mapped feature: #38952 ]
  • <4> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1487431, Extant 23 November 2021.
  • <6> Report: Kirkham, G. and Taylor, S.. 2012. Burcombe and Wester Emmetts, Exmoor: Archaeological Survey. Cornwall County Council Historic Environment Service (Projects). p 11, EBC12(13).
  • <7> Report: Bray, L.S.. 2014. Archaeological walkover surveys on Burcombe: May - October, 2012. Exmoor National Park Authority. EBC12(13).

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Burcombe): EBC12(13)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE134
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1487431



Grid reference Centred SS 7552 3803 (507m by 479m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Jun 15 2022 3:14PM


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