MMO3203 - Post-medieval drainage system on Humbers Ball and Hawkridge Plain (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
Narrow ditches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centre on circa SS 8304 3323 on Humbers Ball and Hawkridge Plain. The ditches form an extensive drainage system of post-medieval date, possibly dating to mid 19th Century. The ditches were possibly created as part of, or in emulation of the Knight family's attempt at improvement in the parish of Exmoor to the east. According to Orwin, although many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, they did not address the underlying issue of compacted ironpan soils and ultimately failed in their intended improvements. Many of the ditches appear to be associated with peat cuttings. However, it is clear that the cuttings follow the line of the drains and it is probable that these post-datethe drains and were opportunistically exploiting the abandoned excavations. [1-4] SS 82895 33402. An extensive system of ditches oriented northeast to southwest cut to drain the disused turbary on the northeast side of Humber's Ball. A typical example is a narrow silted ditch, 0.5 metres wide, 0.3 metres and some 100 metres long. SS 82558 33563. Several irregular drainage ditches within an area of disused turbary (MMO3201) on the east side of Halscombe Allotment. A typical example is a silted channel 0.9 metres wide, 0.5 metres deep and 120 metres long. The evidence from Lidar images and on the ground indicates that these ditches postdate the peat cutting and were dug to drain the cuttings prior to enclosure in the later 19th Century. SS 82724 33604. Several parallel, short ditches lie adjacent to the enclosure bank at the east side of Halscombe Allotment. They are different in form to the nearby drainage ditches at SS 82558 33563; a typical example is 1.4 metres wide, 0.5 metres deep and 30 metres long. They may have been dug to provide material such as turf for the enclosure boundary.  This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3363-4 (11 April 1940).
- <2> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR RAF 543/2821 (F61) 0257-8 (27 April 1964).
- <3> SEM7231 Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 32-33.
- <4>XY SMO7580 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 83 SW. MD002197. [Mapped feature: #43395 Drainage system, Various]
- <5> SEM8544 Report: Riley, H.. 2018. Archaeological walkover survey: Halscombe Allotment, Humber's Ball, Hawkridge Plain & Old Barrow Down, Withypool & Hawkridge, Exmoor. Hazel Riley. HWH17052, HWH17061, HWH17063, p14, 16.
- <6> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1492123, Extant 3 February 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 8291 3325 (944m by 871m) Aerial Survey|
|Civil Parish||WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
Related Events/Activities (2)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1492123 (Pastscape entry: 1492123)
- Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Halscombe etc): HWH17061
- Mires Feature Reference (Monument) (Halscombe etc): HWH17063
- Mires Feature Reference (Monument): HWH17052
- Mires Feature Reference (Monument): SS 83 SW124
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1492123
Record last edited
Feb 3 2022 9:51AM
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