MSO8752 - Medieval or post-medieval field system on Withypool Hill (Monument)

Summary

An extensive field system on the slopes of Withypool Hill, of possible late medieval or post-medieval date, visible as field banks and areas of ridging on aerial photographs.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

Banks forming rectangular enclosures with evidence of ploughing were noted on aerial photographs on Withypool Common and Hill. [1-6] Extensive field system of possible late-medieval or post-medieval date, was noted from air photos to lie on the slopes of Withypool Common and Hill. Features such as field banks and areas of ridge and furrow were visible. [7] The site was studied and subject to a field visit as part of a desk based assessment of Withypool Hill. Banks were identified from aerial photographs, forming rectangular enclosures on the lower slopes of Withypool Hill, some containing areas of ridge and furrow ploughing, including an old trackway running through (and apparently cutting though) the southern group of fields. The aerial photographic transcription shows two groups of relict fields located on the north as well as the south and east sides of the hill; these have been identified as the NW and SW field systems respectively during the 2017 field survey. NW field system - Analysis of the aerial photographic transcription indicates that this field system comprises a northern group of earlier fields, with a subsequent group of fields constructed to the southwest of these. A bridleway passes through the northern group of fields and is deeply rutted. At the west end of the field system (east of the road), the bridleway cuts through the bank forming the western boundary of the first field. Along the bridleway a series of seven machine-excavated drains have been dug to disperse water away from the track. One of these drains cuts through the bank forming the eastern boundary of the first field east of the road. A further drain cuts through the eastern boundary of the southeast field. This drain terminates in a depression measuring 10 metres by 12 metres long. This may be a quarry. SE field system - Within this field system there is an old, east to west aligned, trackway (recorded on the tithe map), still utilised as a track along with another track that starts at the southeast corner of the down and converges with the older track and continues westwards toward other tracks and the road. Four principal areas of damage have been identified. The first is where the two tracks converge, and the presence of the banks has created a choke point where there is heavy erosion. Here two of the banks have been breached by the tracks. In this general area there is also additional (lesser) damage to the banks being caused by the natural movement of grazing animals. To the southeast the modern track cuts through the southern bank of the old trackway. The bank has been completely eroded here, and the adjacent lengths of bank are also damaged. Further to the southeast several vehicle and animal tracks cross a north to south aligned boundary. At these locations the bank has been completely eroded away and the associated drainage ditch largely filled in. The gorse in this area has been removed with a machine, and in some places this has caused some damage to the banks. The final area of damage is at the southeast end of the track where it passes over a north to south aligned bank. The bank is in a poor condition but still survives as an earthwork under the track. Here a drainage ditch has been dug using a machine fitted with a toothed bucket. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Unpublished document: McDonnell, R.. 1980. Gazetteer of Sites in the Exmoor National Park Identified through Aerial Photography. 8035-8037, 8132, 8135-8137, 8231-8232, 8234-8237, 8331-8334.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. HSL/UK/71-17 Run 83, 9311.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENP MAM IRFC 12.061 (May 1977).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. LHL CPE/UK/1980 3361,3363, 3364, 4360, 4358, 4362.
  • <5> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. HSL/UK/71-178 Run 83, 9309.
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. HSL/UK/71-178 Run 85, 9326.
  • <7> Unpublished document: Eardley-Wilmot, H.. 1981. Worksheet in Devon HER. RCHME Field Investigation, 7 April 1995.
  • <8> Report: Passmore, A. and Dean, R.. 2018. Withypool Hill, Withypool, Exmoor Park: Results of archaeological desk-based assessment, measured and photographic survey of Withypool Stone Circle, and geophysical survey.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 832 344 (2885m by 1276m) (Aerial survey)
Map sheet SS83SW
Civil Parish WITHYPOOL AND HAWKRIDGE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

External Links (3)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12348
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO12349
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 83 SW49
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1052155
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35536
  • Somerset SMR PRN: 35537

Record last edited

May 15 2018 1:49PM

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