MSO7905 - Prehistoric enclosure at the head of Weir Water (Monument)


A circular enclosure, 35m in diameter and defined by a bank, containing a second enclosure, 16m in diameter, on a pronounced spur. It is almost certainly prehistoric, and is either a hut circle within an enclosure, or a ritual monument.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

SS 840433. Hut with pound. [1] (SS 84054335). A circular banked enclosure, about 50 metres diameter, adjacent to a possible house platform. Minor earthworks nearby. [2] SS 84054335. A pound with hut circle first recorded on air photographs, was confirmed in the field as an earthwork site. A low stone bank forms a circular enclosure 36 metres diameter, with an entrance in the south side, enclosing a single hut circle 16 metres diameter which has been levelled into the hill slope. [3] Centred at SS 8404 4341 is a circular enclosure, containing an inner ring. It lies on a pronounced spur at the head of Weir Water with a commanding view down this valley. The feature consists of an almost circular enclosure 35 metres in diameter, defined by a spread bank, predominantly earthen, up to 0.7 metres high. On the northern side, the bank becomes an outward facing scarp, whilst on the south it is terraced into the spur. Placed centrally within the enclosure is a second circular feature, also defined by a predominantly earthen bank, 5 metres wide and 0.4 metres high. It is 16 metres in diameter and is terraced into the spur on its southern side. The feature is certainly prehistoric in date, and is best interpreted as a hut circle within an enclosure. Its proximity to other prehistoric settlement (MSO7904, MSO7909, MSO7945 and MSO7946) supports such an interpretation, as does the fact that it has been terraced into the spur. However, the fact that the inner ring almost entirely fills the outer one, seems an unusual arrangement. The possibility that the feature is associated with ritual rather than settlement cannot be completely ruled out. Its striking topographic location at the head of an imposing valley could be used to support such an interpretation. Surveyed with GPS, August 1996, at 1:500 scale. [4-6] Subtle earthworks defining a roughly circular enclosure up to 40 metres in diameter externally, enclosing a slightly off-centre smaller enclosure circa 20 metres in diameter are visible as on a limited number of aerial photographs and have been transcribed as part of the Exmoor National Mapping Programme survey. Fine detail of the transcription is limited by the vegetation cover obscuring much of the earthwork, which may explain why the entrance described above is not apparent. [7-10] Low banks forming "D" shaped enclosure with a circular platform in the centre. An original entrance to the pound or enclosure is possibly on the south side, a gap on the downslope north side being an eroded feature. The banks of the pound are low and spread with some stones showing. They are at most 0.5 metres high and 5 metres wide. The entrance to the hut is probably on the north side where it is a built up platform, at the neck it is cut into the hillslope. [12-14] This monument was surveyed as part of the Dig Porlock project in 2013, using earth resistance and gradiometer survey equipment. Following assessment of the results of the surveys, it was recommended by Carey Consulting that further work to compare the geophysical results to the earthworks would be of value. [15] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [16]

Sources/Archives (16)

  • <1> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Bob Silvester, Exeter University, 1976.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . OS 73 087.687,8.
  • <3> Article in serial: Burrow, I et al. 1980. Somerset Archaeology 1979. Proceedings of the Somerset Archaeology and Natural History Society. 124. 116.
  • <4> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R.. 1996. Porlock Allotment/ink survey . 1:500. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <5> Technical drawing: Wilson-North, R. and Best, J.E.. Porlock Allotment/pencil survey. Permatrace. Pencil.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 30 August 1996.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. SS 8443/1/285 (SF1459) (1 March 1979).
  • <8> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/931 (F20) 3054-5 (8 November 1952).
  • <9> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Oblique Aerial Photograph. SS 8443/2/287 (SF1459) (1 March 1979).
  • <10> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SW. MD002184.
  • <11> Technical drawing: Probert, S.. 1989. Porlock Allotment/ink survey . 1:100. Permatrace. Pen and Ink.
  • <12> Unassigned: Historic Environment Service HBC 3.027.-6.
  • <13> Aerial photograph: September 19. HSL.UK.71-178 Run 85. 9334.
  • <14> Aerial photograph transcription: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Aerial Photograph Transcriptions of Sites in the Exmoor National Park (CRAAGS). 1:10560. SS8443C.
  • <15> Report: Carey, C.. 2013. Luccott Gate, Exmoor: Geophysical survey.
  • <16> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 36286, Extant 21 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 8404 4340 (34m by 34m) Centred on
Map sheet SS84SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO178
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11550
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SW30
  • National Park: Exmoor National Park
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 36286
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 33946

Record last edited

Jun 21 2021 9:39PM


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