MMO3201 - Medieval or post-medieval peat cutting from Withypool Common to Humbers Ball (Monument)

Summary

Evidence of medieval or post-medieval peat cutting can be seen over an area of two square kilometres. There are particular concentrations in seven areas which may have been areas of extraction operated by different families.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Peat cuttings of probable post-medieval date can be seen as earthworks and cropmarks on aerial photographs, following the highest elevation on the commons from Withypool Common to Humbers Ball. The visibility of peat cuttings on aerial photographs is extremely changeable, altering with variables such as season and rainfall. Although actual cuttings or pits cannot be seen over the entire area, disturbed ground surfaces and vegetation indicative of peat extraction can be seen over an area in excess of 200 hectares, or two square kilometres. The greatest concentration of peat cuttings visible as earthworks or cropmarks or other changes in vegetation can be seen in seven discrete areas, centred on c. SS 8171 3530, SS 8127 3468, SS 8067 3444, SS 8214 3429, SS 8243 3401, SS 8264 3362 and SS 8306 3315. It is possible that these indicate areas of extraction operated by different families. Similar but less extensive peat workings can be seen to the southwest across Danes Brook at Litton. [1-7] A study of the archaeology and history of peat exploitation on Exmoor’s moorlands provides additional background on the practice and sites. [8] SS 82862 32546. Numerous irregular, shallow pits and hollows on the north Hawkridge Plain represent an area of disused turbary. A typical example is a rectangular hollow, 3 metres north to south, 4.5 metres east to west and 0.4 metres deep with a drainage ditch at its southeastern end. These peat cuttings are very different to those in the Royal Forest around Simonsbath which date from the 19th and 20th Centuries and may well represent medieval and early post-medieval turbaries, worked by the farms which border the former open moorland. SS 82925 33362. A large area of irregular hollows and pits on the northeast side of Humber's Ball is the remains of disused turbary. A typical example is a subrectangular hollow, 3 metres east to west, 2 metres north to south and 0.4 metres deep. The peat cuttings are very different to those in the Royal Forest around Simonsbath which which date from the 19th and 20th Centuries and may well represent medieval and early post-medieval turbaries, worked by the farms which border the former open moorland. SS 82479 33513. An area of irregular hollows and pits on the east side of Halscombe Allotment is the remains of disused peat cuttings. A typical example is a subrectangular hollow, 4 metres north to south, 10 metres east to west and 0.4 metres deep. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3289-91 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 4252-3 (11 July 1946).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4363-5 (11 April 1947).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3365-6 (11 April 1947).
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F61) 0164-5 (27 April 1964).
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F61) 0256-7 (27 April 1964).
  • <7>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197. [Mapped feature: #38946 Area of peat cuttings, ]
  • <8> Report: Riley, H.. 2014. Turf Cutting on Exmoor: An archaeological and historical study - project report.
  • <9> Report: Riley, H.. 2018. Archaeological walkover survey: Halscombe Allotments, Humber's Ball, Hawkridge Plain & Old Barrow Down, Withypool & Hawkridge, Exmoor. HWH17041, HWH17053, HWH17062, p12, 14.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8189 3415 (2926m by 2949m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS83SW
Civil Parish WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Halscombe etc): HWH17041
  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Halscombe etc): HWH17053
  • Mires Feature Reference (Monument): HWH17062
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SW122
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1492119

Record last edited

May 15 2018 1:48PM

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