MSO10883 - Late prehistoric hut circle at Ruckham Combe (Monument)


A hut circle is visible on aerial photographs as a low stony bank 0.3 metres high. It has also been referred to as a ring cairn.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 72794312. The westernmost of two hut circles consisting of stony banks 0.3 metres high, with an entrance gap to the south. Surveyed at 1/2500. [1] This feature measures 8 paces in diameter. [2] This and the similar feature (MSO12369) are marked as 'Ring Cairns' on the 1980 Ordnance Survey mapping. [3] SS 72794312. This and MSO12369 were reinterpreted as not hut circles but two ring cairns situated on level ground above a steep valley slope. They comprise circular banks of stone and soil 8 to 9 metres in overall diameter, 0.3 to 0.4 metres high and both have a slight gap on the south side. The interiors are at natural ground level. Surveyed at 1:2500 on PFD. [4] The east hut circle was previously included in this record (Somerset HER) but is now MSO12369 (referred to as B). [5] One of two hut circles (A and B) situated at about 415 metres above Ordnance Datum, on a gentle northwest facing slope in an area of rough grassland overlooking the source of the West Lyn River in Ruckham Combe. There is an area (about 0.1 hectares) of scattered stones some 100 metres to the southsouthwest but no other evidence of settlement. The huts are almost identical except that B is slightly larger and more irregular. SS 72790 43125. Hut A is subcircular and ranges from 7.6 metres east to west to 8.2 metres in overall diameter (7.9 metres average). The turf covered wall is 1.2 to 1.7 metres wide and reaches a maximum height of 0.5 metres in the northeast. The interior slopes slightly but this could be due to subsequent soil creep. A lowering of the wall (1 metre long in the northwest and 1.3 metres in the south) may indicate sites of possible entrances. Hut circles are farily rare on Exmoor; however, several are evident on the lower slopes only 500 metres to the south of this site. Originally classified as hut circles [1] and then as ring cairns [2], the possibility that this and MSO12369 may be ring cairns cannot be excluded; however, on balance, they are most probably hut circles. 1:2500 Survey by GPS. [6] This feature was confirmed as a hut circle duirng field investigation. [7-8] This hut circle is visible on infra-red photography taken for Exmoor National Park Authority in 1983. This is similar in size and form to MSO12369, and also to the hut circles seen on Holdstone Down and Martinhoe Common to the north. [9,10] This site was surveyed using gradiometer and earth resistance techniques in 2012. Analysis of the resulting data suggested that a potential hut circle was visible in the earth resistance data, although this was not seen in the gradiometer or topographic data. The nearby hut circle MSO12369 was visible in the data. In addition, other anomalies were noted in the nearby area which may be archaeological in nature, but this cannot be verified. [11] The feature is depicted and labelled as a hut circle on 2021 MasterMap data. [12] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [13]

Sources/Archives (13)

  • <1> Unpublished document: PALMER, JP. Mid 1960s. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F1, 7 July 1965.
  • <2> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1982. Site visit, H Eardley-Wilmot, to Somerset County Council 27 September 1982.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1980. 1:10000 Map, 1980. 1:10000. SS74SW.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Fletcher, M.J.. Field Investigators Comments. Ordnance Survey visit, F2, 4 February 1975.
  • <5> Unassigned: Webster, CJ. Dec 1997. Chris Webster, Somerset HER, December 1997.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 May 1995.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 3 August 1999.
  • <8> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1999. Thorn Hill Hut Circle/pencil. 1:100. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <10> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <11> Report: Carey, C. and Ventre, H.. 2012. Ruckham Coombe (Mire 2), Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and gradiometer survey. 16.
  • <12>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34520 ]
  • <13> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1351477, Extant 11 January 2022.



Grid reference Centred SS 7279 4312 (24m by 25m)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO95
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6839
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35341
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33022

Record last edited

Jun 16 2022 12:32PM


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