MMO554 - Highley deserted farm and mill (Monument)


Ruins of a deserted farm are visible as two groups of ruinous buildings surviving mainly as low walls and banks. A possible site of Waterow Mill is nearby, possibly related to several field gutters or leats visible on vertical aerial photographs.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (4)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Highley: In 1772 it was a messuage lately called `Siderfins' [1]; in 1842 it was a farm of 36 acres. [2] A demolished mill called `Waterow Mill' is in the area (unspecified), with traces of a leat. [3] A nearby cottage, called `Waterleat Cottage' is also recorded (see MSO9224). [4] Low walls and banks making small enclosures with two to three buildings remains were noted on aerial photographs. The site of "Higher Farm". [5,6] Ordnance Survey mapping of 1889 shows two groups of buildings at Highley. They are some 25 metres apart and are connected by a trackway which curves in a `U' shape between them. [7] Highley Copse is now an area of private forestry. Tree planting and forestry roads have considerably confused the area. However, the two groups of buildings are identifiable at SS 9384 3824 and SS 9387 3823. The former, approached from the south by a double banked trackway, is the better preserved with walls standing to gable height, although much overgrown. The building itself stands on a rocky knoll within the main valley, and thus occupies a seemingly isolated and very unusual position. The second group of buildings are less well preserved with walls mostly surviving as low banks or stone revetments 1 m high. This group lies below the former. Source [7] clearly shows the landscape to have been one of small areas of deciduous woodland separated by areas of poor pasture and improved ground. [8] This area was investigated during the Brendon Hills Mapping Project. Three leats or field gutters were visible on the aerial photographs, one of which runs directly towards the site of the deserted farm and mill and may therefore be the leat described by [1] above. A possible structure is visible at SS 9397 3800. [5,9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Article in serial: Aston, M. 1983. Deserted Farmsteads on Exmoor and the 1327 lay subsidy. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 127. 91.
  • <2> Map: [Unknown]. 1842. Cutcombe Tithe Map and Apportionment. Pen and Ink.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. D Warren, Somerset Industrial Archaeology Society, 24 November 1977.
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1089147.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3299-3300.
  • <6> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. SS9338A.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889, Somerset 46(12).
  • <8> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 November 1997.
  • <9>XY Archive: Dyer, C.A.. 1998. RCHME: Brendon Hills Mapping Project, SS 93 NW. AF1129721. [Mapped features: #39609 ; #39610 ]
  • <10> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1089147, Extant 2 May 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11185
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO9267
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 93 NW24
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1089147
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33515



Grid reference Centred SS 9390 3809 (155m by 368m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS93NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

May 2 2022 9:14PM


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