MMO2932 - Post-medieval peat cutting on Deer Park and Little Halscombe (Monument)


A large area of post-medieval peat cutting. 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 81 hectares on Deer Park and parts of Little Halscombe, Exmoor. The earthworks are centred on SS 7687 3757 and are of a variety of shapes and sizes, from square pits measuring 12 metres across, to less regularly shaped, curved pits up to 75 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 west on Burcombe, and to the south on Long Holcombe. [1-3] A large scale metric survey of an area of earthworks on Wintershead was undertaken by Hazel Riley in 2012 as part of the Exmoor Mires Project. The survey area was located on the edge of an extensive area of peat cutting on Deer Park, as recorded above from air photographs as part of the National Mapping Programme for Exmoor. There is evidence of shallow peat cutting across the east edge of the survey area. Two small, well-defined areas are seen and on the west edge of the hollow is a slight amorphous mound measuring 2.5 metres north-south, 2 metres east-west and 0.25 metres high. [4] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [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] SS 7745 3718. Turf pits associated with Horsen Farm, Wintershead Farm and Cottages. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F62) 171-72 (27 April 1964).
  • <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: #40975 ]
  • <4> Report: Riley. H.. 2012. Metric survey of Wintershead, Exmoor Mires Project: Project report. 5.
  • <5> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1487437, Extant 23 November 2021.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wills, G.. Unknown. Location of turf pits within the parishes of Exmoor & Brendon.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument): EDP13(104)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE135
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1487437



Grid reference Centred SS 7680 3755 (1260m by 1013m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Nov 30 2022 5:03PM


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