MSO7005 - Medieval packhorse track northeast of Mole's Chamber (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
The original NRHE record for this site referenced the Somerset HER/SMR record PRN 33156, which refers to a medieval packhorse routeway.  Bridlepath/packhorse track Porlock to Barnstaple. An ancient way from Porlock by Hawkcombe Head, Acmead (now Larkbarrow), Preyway, Exe Head, Driver and Moles Chamber to Bratton and Barnstaple. A portion of it may be seen between Driver and Moles Chamber . MacDermot  states it was never more than a bridlepath, though no doubt it was used for pack-horse traffic. SS 7315 4000 to SS 7000 3858. Part of this route (south from the B3358, Challacombe to Simonsbath road near Driver Cottages (now renamed Moorland Way) southwards to Mole's Chamber) is shown as a Bridle Road on the 1890 Ordnance Survey plan . The first 250 metres of this route as still in use as a rough track from the B3358 to Acklands. Where the Acklands track turns south at SS 7304 3995 several hollow ways are visible crossing it. From here it continues as a series of hollow ways, some partly utilised as a path. The route follows the south side of an unnamed stream till it reaches Lew Combe where it crosses over and follows the north side of the stream up to the site of Mole's Chamber. Here it crosses another ancient way from Lynton to South Molton. From 100 metres southwest Mole's Chamber to the plan edge the modern enclosure road is on the route.  A section of this routway can clearly be seen on aerial photographs as a series of interweaving ruts and sunken hollows, east of Mole's Chamber crossing the stream between Black Hill and Great Vintcombe. In other areas the track is barely discernible on aerial photographhs. This section is also depicted on a map of Exmoor Forest at the time of enclosure reproduced in C.S. Orwin and marked as the "Barnstaple Bridleroad." The same map marks numerous "watering places" where tracks and roadways crossed rivers or streams, and it is likely that this crossing was used for the same purpose. [5-7] The route is shown on the 1818 Inclosure Maps for Exmoor. The southeastern end is labelled "No. 11 Barnstaple Bridle Road". The Award describes this as "One public bridle road of the breadth of six feet" and its route is described in detail, beginning at Mole's Chamber and ending at the entrance of the Brendon Road against Brendon Common. It is not clear how much of the original routeway followed this depicted route, as not all of the routeways on the map were laid out at this time. [8,9] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. 
- <1> SSO1 Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN33156.
- <2> SMO7324 Unpublished document: Sainsbury, I.S.S. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 2 August 1995 RCHME Field Investigation.
- <3> SMO5058 Monograph: MacDermot, E.T.. 1973. The History of the Forest of Exmoor. David and Charles Limited. Revised Edition. 13.
- <4> SEM6703 Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1890, Somerset 44(7).
- <5> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 1039-40 (29 April 1973).
- <6> SEM7231 Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition.
- <7>XY SMO7572 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NW. MD002189. [Mapped feature: #45137 Earthworks, ]
- <8> SEM8815 Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. A Map of Exmoor Forest Referred to by the annexed Award. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
- <9> SEM8036 Map: Kelsey, F.J.. 1818. The Map Referred to in the annexed Award [Exmoor Inclosure Award]. 4 inches : 1 mile. Pen and Ink.
- <10> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 909567, Extant 29 November 2021.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7252 3968 (1580m by 687m) (2 map features)|
|Civil Parish||EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET|
Related Monuments/Buildings (5)
- Related to: Medieval and post-medieval routeway between Driver Cottages and Exe Head (Monument) (MSO7126)
- Related to: Medieval or post-medieval trackway northeast of Henthitchen (Monument) (MMO2799)
- Related to: Medieval or post-medieval trackway on Castle Common (Monument) (MMO2800)
- Related to: Medieval or post-medieval trackway south of Castle Common (Monument) (MMO2798)
- Related to: Medieval routeway on Great Vintcombe (Monument) (MSO11017)
Related Events/Activities (2)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=909567 (Pastscape entry: 909567)
- Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO307
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NW31
- National Park
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 909567
- Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33156
Record last edited
Jan 4 2022 12:46PM
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