MSO7020 - 19th Century contour leat from Great Buscombe to Swap Hill (Monument)

Summary

A substantial contour leat is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs, running from Great Buscombe to Swap Hill. It is thought to date to the mid 19th Century and the earlier phase of agricultural improvements by the Knight family.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A contour leat, 4 kilometres long, runs from Great Buscombe to Swap Hill. At SS 8120 4105, it is 3.6 metres wide and 0.7 metres deep, with the bank 2.5 metres wide and 1.1 metre high on the downslope side. Some large stones have been used in its construction. The leat predates the 19th Century field boundaries that cut through it. [1] The east end of the leat was recorded as part of the Larkbarrow survey, where it appeared to be be feeding the gutter system (MSO7028). [6] A substantial contour leat is visible as an earthwork on aerial photographs, running from Great Buscombe to Swap Hill. Beginning at approximately SS 7809 4205, the leat follows the line of the 410 metre contour line for approximately 3.6 kilometres, fading from sight at SS 8165 4238. In several places the leat is cut by 19th Century field boundaries, on Trout Hill for example, indicating that it predates these features. The leat also lies within an area of extensive 19th Century drainage ditches, some of which cut through the the leat. It seems likely that this feature dates to the mid 19th Century and the earlier phase of agricultural improvements by the Knight family. [7,8] The site was subject to restoration work as part of work undertaken at The Warren as part of the Exmoor Mires Project during March 2016 and August 2016 to January 2017. None of the leat was affected by the restoration works; however, it was noted on site that significant damage was being caused to the feature by heavy access use and subsequent water channelling and erosion. At one point, a ditch that was being blocked crossed the leat. Here, 20 metres were left at either side of the leat to avoid any interference with it. However, it was badly eroded here and may require further attention to avoid further erosion and damage. At other points in Beckham, the leat had been damaged by pathways or water channels. [9]

Sources/Archives (10)

  • <1> Aerial photograph transcription: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Aerial Photograph Transcriptions of Sites in the Exmoor National Park (CRAAGS). 1:10560. 10 June 1982.
  • <2> Article in serial: Burrow, I., Minnitt, S. and Murless, B.. 1982. Somerset Archaeology 1981. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society. 126. 69-91. P.83.
  • <3> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. 7841.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3158-3161, 8162 (11 April 1947).
  • <5> Report: McDonnell, R.. 1985. Recommendations for the Management of Archaeological Sites in the Exmoor National Park at Warren, Pinford, Tom's Hill and Hayes Allotment. P.57, 67 (site 85).
  • <6> Report: Jamieson, E.. 2001. Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor, Somerset.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73109 935-941 (29 April 1973).
  • <8>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183. [Mapped feature: #43460 ]
  • <9> Report: Ferraby, R.. 2016. The Warren: Historic environment post-restoration report.
  • <10> Report: Riley, H.. 2017. Agricultural Reclamation at Larkbarrow Farm, Exmoor. Exmoor Mires Partnership ELB17 Project Report.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7995 4201 (3726m by 769m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS74SE
Civil Parish EXMOOR, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO412
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11027
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW106
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 974790
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 33166

Record last edited

Feb 4 2020 3:29PM

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