MSO9113 - Late prehistoric or medieval field system north of Withies Brake (Monument)


Originally thought to be a square enclosure, earthworks at this site now appear to show a field system made up of field boundaries and / or lynchets, which may be of medieval or late prehistoric date.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

Banks forming three sides of a large square enclosure were noted on aerial photograph. [1,2] Examination of these and a further photograph dating from 1970 [3] suggests that the feature is caused by vegetation marks. The area in question now lies in dense coniferous plantation. [1-3] Several probable medieval field boundaries and/or lynchets are visible as low banks and soil marks on aerial photographs on the slopes north of Withies Brake, Carhampton. The boundaries appear to form rectangular enclosures measuring an average of 100 metres long by 60 metres wide. The banks and soil marks themselves measure up to 10 metres wide, but it is likely that the width has been exaggerated by soil slippage down the slope. They are visible over an area of 8 hectares, stretching across the south facing slope between Withies Brake and Withycombe Hill Gate. The irregular and slightly curved banks presumably predate the Deer Park at Dunster in which they lie, which was first described in 1279. They are somewhat similar to the banks of the late prehistoric field system at Withycombe Hill (MSO8633) and given the concentration of prehistoric activity in this area, a later prehistoric date cannot be ruled out. [4-6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: 1947. LHL CPE/UK/1980. 3016, 3190.
  • <2> Survey: Western Archaeological Trust. 1980s. Exmoor Aerial Photograph Survey. SS9941B.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Aerial photograph reference number . ZEISS 054 23/9/1970 SOMERSET B BLK2 055.
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F64) 137-38 (27 April 1964) 4.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Somerset County Council. Various. Somerset HER parish files - Exmoor records. PRN 34446.
  • <6>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 94 SE. MD002187. [Mapped feature: #40012 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 990 417 (484m by 412m)
Map sheet SS94SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO696
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MSO11868
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 94 SE49
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1119404
  • Somerset SMR PRN (Somerset): 34446

Record last edited

Jun 25 2019 4:50PM


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