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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1477889

Hob Uid: 1477889
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8134241933
Summary : Post-medieval ditches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs forming an extensive drainage system of across the slopes of Beckham, Exmoor parish. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, possibly associated with the construction of Tom's Hill Farm around 1850. Many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but did not address the underlying issue of compacted ironpan soils and failed to provide adequate drainage for improvement. Similar drainage systems are visible in the surrounding areas, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into contour leats.
More information : A system of post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs, across the slopes of Beckham, Exmoor parish. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at agricultural improvement of the former royal forest, possibly associated with the construction of Tom¿s Hill model Farm around 1850. Centred on approximately SS 81334202, these earthworks cover an area of approximately 5 hectares and form one of three relatively small and discrete drainage systems that feed into tributaries to the south of Long Combe. Two more can be seen immediately to the west. The drains are arranged in an irregular herringbone pattern draining centrally into an unnamed tributary to Long Combe.
Similar but much more extensive drainage systems are visible to the south and west towards Warren Farm, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into the various contour leats.
According to Orwin, many miles of drainage ditches were cut across parts of Exmoor, but this technique did not address the underlying issue of compacted ironpan soils and failed to provide adequate drainage for improvement. (1-2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 106G/UK/1501 (F20) 4069-70 13-MAY-1946
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Orwin, C.S. 1929 "The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest" London, Oxford University Press
Page(s) : 32-3
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Drain, 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 84 SW 235
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1477817
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1477851
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1477882
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1477888
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