MSO12369 - 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.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 72834312. This feature is the eastern of two hut circles (the other being MSO10883) which consist of stony banks 0.3 metres high with entrance gaps to the south. Surveyed at 1/2500. [1] This feature was found to measure 10 paces in diameter. [2] This and MSO10883 are marked as "Ring Cairns" on 1980 Ordnance Survey mapping. [3] SS 72824314. This and MSO10883 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, were 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] This feature was previously numbered as part of MSO10883 (Somerset HER) which now refers only to the west circle (A). [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 72826 43148. Hut B is subcircular and varies in diameter from 9.1 metres northwest to southeast, to 10.6 metres (average 9.8 metres) over a turf covered stone wall varying from 1.3 metres wide in the south to 1.9 metres wide in the northeast (average 1.6 metres) where it reaches an external maximum height of 0.5 metres. Internally it is only about 0.2 metres high. There appears to be an excess of stone around the southwest and southeast uphill side. In the south there is a lowering of the wall about 1.7 metres long which, although it is on the uphill side, may mark the entrance. The interior slopes gently which may be the result of soil build up. Hut circles are farily rare on Exmoor; however, MSO10883 is located close by and several more 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 they may be ring cairns cannot be excluded; however, on balance, this and MSO10883 are most probably hut circles. 1:2500 Survey by GPS.[6] This and MSO10883 were confirmed as hut circles. [7] Both this and MSO10883 are visible on Infra-red photography taken for Exmoor National Park Authority in 1983. They are similar in size and form to the hut circles seen on Holdstone Down and Martinhoe Common to the north. [8,9] This site was surveyed using gradiometer and earth resistance techniques in 2012. Analysis of the resulting data suggested that a hut circle was visible in the earth resistance, gradiometer and topographic data. The nearby hut circle MSO10883 was also visible in the earth resistance data. In addition, other anomalies were noted in the nearby area which may be archaeological in nature, but this cannot be verified. [10] The feature is depicted and labelled as a hut circle on 2021 MasterMap data. [11] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [12]

Sources/Archives (12)

  • <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> Verbal communication: Various. 1900-. Somerset County Council / South West Heritage Trust staff comments. 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> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. Exmoor National Park Authority IRFC 5804-05 (1983).
  • <9> Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SW. MD002182.
  • <10> Report: Carey, C. and Ventre, H.. 2012. Ruckham Coombe (Mire 2), Exmoor: Combined earth resistance and gradiometer survey. 16.
  • <11>XY Map: Ordnance Survey. 2021. MasterMap data. 1:2,500. [Mapped feature: #34519 ]
  • <12> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 35341, Extant 11 January 2022.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO95
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO6839
  • Local List Status (Candidate)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SW7
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 35341
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35558



Grid reference Centred SS 7282 4314 (19m by 18m)
Map sheet SS74SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (5)

Record last edited

Jan 11 2022 1:35PM


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