MSO7011 - Post-medieval mineral prospecting at Great Woolcombe (Monument)


The remains of post-medieval mineral prospecting are visible as linear features and a circular earthwork during field survey and on aerial photographs taken in 1964.

Please read the Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A series of linear features and a circular earthwork are shown on aerial photographs at Great Woolcombe. At SS 7808 3749 is a steep sided sub-circular hollow 2.5 metres deep and 4.5 metres by 7 metres across. A rim of spoil surrounds the hollow on all but the western side. From its southwestern corner, a flat topped bank 0.5 metres high with a shallow ditch on the east runs southwards into an unnamed combe. These earthworks are clearly prospecting for iron or copper deposits, and the hollow may be a collapsed trial shaft. Further north, two linear features are seen on the same aerial photographs, which are probably prospecting trenches. [1,2] Mining remains thought to be of 19th Century date were identified on Horsen during the preliminary Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor survey, run under the auspices of Exmoor National Park Authority and the National Trust (Holnicote Estate). [3] A linear feature, one of those described above, is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork on the southern edge of Great Woolcombe. It is similar in form and alignment to the linear trenches visible on the northwestern edge of Great Woolcmbe, which were identified by Burton as prospecting trenches cut in an attempt to establish the limit of the lodes of Blue Gate Iron Mine. See MEM15412 and MEM15413. [4,5] 6.3.1, ? SS 781 374. Woolcombe Level. This may or may not be the approximate location of three trial trenches cut by Frederick Knight. Schneider and Hannay drove an adit westwards along the Woolcombe lode below the trenches for 35 metres, stopping in November 1856. [6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 27 October 1994.
  • <2> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. CRAGGS Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey 1979-85.
  • <3> Report: Juleff, G.. 1997. Earlier Iron-Working on Exmoor: Preliminary Survey. 30, table 1.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F62) 169-70 (27 April 1964).
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 NE. MD002190.
  • <6> Report: Exmoor Mines Research Group. 1995. Report on the safety condition of disused mine workings on lands owned by Exmoor National Park Department and other lands nearby. 6.3.1 p15-16.
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1029578, Extant 17 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO460
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12528
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 NE48
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1029578
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35730



Grid reference Centred SS 7808 3765 (117m by 520m)
Map sheet SS73NE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 17 2021 3:39PM


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