MSO6921 - Post-medieval sheepfold on Great Woolcombe (Monument)


A post-medieval sheepfold is visible on aerial photographs taken in 1973 as earthworks. This site is defined by an earthen bank and broad external ditch, with a single entrance.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A post medieval sheepfold is visible on Great Woolcombe, centred at approximately SS 7771 3756. It measures 41.5m square defined by an earthern bank 0.9m high topped by a grown-out beech hedge. There is also a broad external ditch 4m wide and 0.3m deep. A single entrance 2.3m wide is visible on the western end of the southern side of the enclosure. Elsewhere are modern breaks in the bank caused by animal erosion. A short length of bank runs from the southern side of the sheepfold near the entrance as far as the nearby stream, and was probably to control stock. The sheepfold was constructed by Frederic Knight in the mid 19th century as part of his land improvement measures on Exmoor. [1-4] A square enclosure is seen marked on the 1:2500 and 1:10560 Ordnance Survey maps. The edges of this feature are tree lined. [5,6] This structure is thought likely to have been related to sheep rearing operations undertaken by the Knight family in the 19th Century. [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] The heritage asset was assessed for inclusion on the Exmoor Local Heritage List in February 2024. It was noted that it's age is moderately distinctive for the 19th century Exmoor shepherding and is of a distinctive design being a large square enclosure. It is deemed to have high historical association with the Knight Estate and named Scottish shepherds. It's evidential value is not complex but otherwise poorly documented so physical remains are significant. It was deemed to have moderate social communal value being a landmark, and to have high collective value being one of a group of sheep folds or stells developed on the Knight Estate in the former Royal Forest . It was decided to add the asset to the Local Heritage List. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/76087 615-16 (17 April 1973).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1854-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890.
  • <3> Monograph: Burton, R.A.. 1989. The Heritage of Exmoor. Roger A. Burton. 120.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1978. 25 inch Ordnance Survey map. 1:2,500. Somerset SS7737.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1962. 6 Inch Map: 1962. 1:10560. Somerset SS73NE.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H. March 1980. Eardley-Wilmot, H to Somerset County Council. 4 March 1980.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1099609, Extant 22 November 2021.
  • <9> Unpublished document: Exmoor National Park Authority. 2024. Exmoor Local Heritage List assessed by the Panel on 21 February 2024.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO603
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO10990
  • Local Heritage List Status (Listed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE26
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1099609
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33129



Grid reference Centred SS 2777 1376 (64m by 64m)
Map sheet SS21SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

Record last edited

Apr 22 2024 4:53PM


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