MMO503 - Medieval and post-medieval Dunster to Barnstaple road (Monument)


The routeway is visible on aerial photographs as a linear hollow way. A second hollow way is evident on several photographs running parallel to the main road.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Part of the sunken trackway of the old route from Dunster to Barnstaple, averaging 3 metres wide, runs from SS 7350 3622 near Kinsford Gate southwestwards to SS 7207 3540 on Yard Down. It is mentioned by Leland and shown on the 1 inch Ordnance Survey map of 1809. [1,2] Part of the course of this track was noted on aerial photographs probably joining the existing road at the junction east of the Poltimore Arms. [3-5] Part of this route is visible on aerial photographs [6] running from about SS 7363 3633 southwestwards to SS 7280 3581. On the ground this section is still evident as a hollow waycutting through enclosed pasture fields. The less well preserved northern end is marked by a shallow linear hollow and part terraceway whilst the southern end is extremely well defined as a deep linear gulley, 8 metres across the top narrowing to about 3 metres and 1.7 metres deep. It is clearly overlaid by the 19th Century enclosure walls and the southern section has occasional stone clearance heaps overlaying its sides (see MDE10502). From SS 7280 3581 the route has been ploughed out but a short section can be seen at SS 7248 3566 to the south side of the hedge behind the Poltimore Arms. From here its course is overlaid by a hedgeline till it joins the modern road at SS 7207 3540. N.B. The route suggested above has been added to the GIS data recorded by the NMP [11] as line data. [6-8] The hollow way described above is visible on aerial photographs running southwest to northeast from Western Common and Five Barrows Cross for approximately 1 kilometre as far as Sherracombe Cross and the Poltimore Arms. In addition, a second hollow way is visible south of this, running parallel to the medieval road from approximately SS 7330 3608 before fading from view at SS 7299 3576. A third hollow way running north to south from SS 7327 3611 to SS 7329 3586 crosses both at the northeastern ends. These additional hollow ways are not depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map [9], unlike the main road, and their precise relationship to the road is not clear. [9-11] The route represented by the hollow ways is not marked on the Tithe Map for North Molton; nor is the roadway from North Twitchen that passes across Five Barrows Cross and onwards past Fyldon Common. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1809. 1 Inch Ordnance Surveyors draft map. 1:63,360.
  • <2> Serial: 1900 -. Devon and Cornwall notes and queries. (H Eardley-Wilmot), Volume 34 (1981), "Leland's Road and a Telling House", pp 329-42.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF/CPE/UK/1980.4443 (April 1947).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. HSL/UK/71/167 Run 73 7582-3 (August-September 1971).
  • <5> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS7235a.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. MAM/14/099 (20 May 1977).
  • <7>XY Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 12 October 1995. [Mapped feature: #46667 ]
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. 1999-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 19 August 2020.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/96559 73-74 (7 May 1996).
  • <10> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <11>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #43660 ]
  • <12> Map: 1841. North Molton Tithe Map and Apportionment.



Grid reference Centred SS 7273 3581 (1391m by 854m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS73NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 12171
  • Devon SMR: SS73NW/537
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE13170
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MDE20250
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW38
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1050160

Record last edited

Aug 19 2020 10:27AM


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