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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1470502

Hob Uid: 1470502
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS7317441739
Summary : An area of regular post medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on moorland south west of The Chains Barrow, Exmoor. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably sometime after Frederic Winn Knight took possession of the estate in 1841. According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed. Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into Pinkery Canal. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting.
More information : An area of regular post medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on moorland to the south-west of The Chains Barrow,Exmoor. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, probably around the time Frederic Winn Knight took over the running of the estate in 1841. Centred at approximately SS 7313 4173, the ditches run north-west to south-east across a south-west facing slope above an un-named tributary of the River Barle. It appears that the ditches were designed to channel water into this tributary. The ditches are all cut in straight parallel lines, and cover an area of approximately 5 hectares. The whole area around The Chains is particularly boggy and peat covered, and it seems likely that the ditches were cut to drain the area prior to it being enclosed.
According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but in some areas failed to provide adequate drainage for the land to be enclosed (2). Large areas of Exmoor were successfully drained, although it appears that this area, which is still open and boggy moorland was not one of them.
Other similar ditches are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into Pinkery Canal. Many of the ditches are associated with areas of peat cutting (1-3).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : RAF CPE/UK/1980 3148-49 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Orwin, C.S 1929 "The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest" Oxford University Press, London page(s) 32-33
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Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Riley, H and Wilson-North, R "The Field Archaeology of Exmoor" English Heritage, Swindon page(s) 138-39
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1830
Monument Type : Drainage Ditch, Drainage System
Evidence : Earthwork

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SS 74 SW 182
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1470332
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1470395
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1470637
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2007-04-01
End Date : 2009-07-01