MSO10888 - 19th Century contour leat on Pinkworthy Hill (Monument)


A hedge side ditch or contour leat runs south of Pinkery canal. It eventually meets a series of hedge side ditches at its southeastern end (see MMO2145).

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Contour leat running south of canal with eastern end from River Barle. Very similar to the canal (MSO6847) in size and shape with dry stone revetments. Ends at head of Short Combe with drainage ditches so may have been used for irrigation. [1] SS 7216 4118. An ordinary hedge side ditch, not specifically a leat as such. SS 7218 4110 to SS 7290 4100. A 19th century contour leat, with dry stone revetments and drainage ditches, running from the River Barle to the head of Short Combe. It may have been used for irrigation. SS 7250 4126 A well formed embanked flat bottomed leat, where best preserved it is 1 to 2 metres wide and 0.5 metres deep. It has an outer bank on the downhill side which is up to 3.1 metres wide and 0.6 metres high and, in some places, a less well defined bank on the uphill side, up to 2 metres wide and 0.2 to 0.5 metres high.The now dry channel, at about 420 metres above Ordnance Datum, commences in the west at SS 7219 4156, some 60 metres from from the River Barle, and follows the contour across the lower slopes of Pinkworthy Hill. It continues into a gulley, containing an unnamed stream and the leat is in places cut through outcropping rock. It is crossed by one of the enclosure walls and curves eastwards across steeper slopes where its lower bank is consolidated and capped by a low wall of stones laid on edge. The leat continues in a well preserved condition to SS 7271 4098 where it is met by a series of embanked drains running off marshy ground to the east at the head of Short Combe. The leat predates the enclosure banks/walls, and was probably constructed by John Knight's Irish labourers in about 1833, the same time as the 'Pinkery Canal' (MSO6847). It is very similar in construction though not quite as large. It does not however appear to have been built for irrigation but was more probably for drainage purposes: to divert the water running down the southern slopes of the Chains away from the pasture to the south of the leat. NB The lower bank of this leat is depicted on the 1890 Ordnance Survey Map [3] however the leat itself is not shown, suggesting it was already out of use by then. (Depicted and annotated on attached 1:2500 for record purposes only). [4] This record originally contained data relating to the hedge drainage ditches associated with the field boundaries recorded by MMO2145. This data has been transferred to that record. [5-7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8,9] Constructed 1819-1820 as part of John Knight's early reclamation works. Part of a water carriage running from the tributory to the Barle to the west across Pinkery, Goat Hill and Driver to Titchcombe and incorporated into the later field system [10]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. M Aston, 11 July 1977.
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. 54-55.
  • <3> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890 (Surveyed 1888), Somerset 32(15).
  • <4> Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. 29 June 1995, RCHME Field Investigation.
  • <5> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 33027.
  • <7> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 13 February 2021.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 895573, Extant 17 January 2021.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1043717, Extant 17 January 2022.
  • <10> Report: Riley, H.. 2019. The landscape of the Knights on Exmoor: A case study for the Exmoor Mires Partnership. Fig 9.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park Authority HER number: MMO2145
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6986
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO7118
  • Local Heritage List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW103
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW76
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1043717
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 895573
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33027



Grid reference Centred SS 7248 4146 (620m by 1016m)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

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Record last edited

Oct 28 2022 2:30PM


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