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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1478160

Hob Uid: 1478160
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8264943173
Summary : An area of peat cutting of probable 19th century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards. This is one of four discrete but possibly associated areas of extraction visible as earthworks on the north-west facing slopes at Madacombe.
More information : Peat cutting of probably largely 19th century date can be seen as numerous irregularly shaped large pits and an extensive area of disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, centred on circa SS 82644319.
The area of extraction appears to be divided into two, perhaps both physically and temporally, by a probably 19th century field boundary. To the east of the field boundary the evidence for peat extraction resembles that to the south at circa SS 82794279, with the cutting on a relatively small scale. The visible pits are widely spaced and generally sub-rectangular in shape, on average under 4 metres wide but varying in length from 3 metres to over 25 metres long. The greatest indication of extraction here is the disturbed character of the ground surface, which, with the visible pits, may indicate a level of speculative cutting.
To the west of the field boundary the cuttings appear more developed. The individual cuttings are more extensive, some approaching 40 metres in width, and also show evidence of sustained and cumulative exploitation. For instance, several pits have stepped faces, indicating systematic cutting. These larger pits may reflect the cumulative nature of some peat cutting on Exmoor, where one family cuts the same peat beds for generations as part of their commoners' rights.
In total, this area of peat cutting covers around 3 hectares of common land.
Due to the difficult nature of the evidence which can vary in appearance on aerial photographs from year to year, the transcription attempts only to convey the general area and character of the excavations, and should be taken only as indicative of the extent of individual pits.
The heyday of peat cutting on Exmoor was in the first half of the nineteenth century, although cutting probably took place on a smaller scale from the medieval period well into the twentieth century. (1-2)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 4103-5 08-NOV-1952
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 2
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Burton, R.A. 1989 The Heritage of Exmoor. Barnstaple, R.A.Burton
Page(s) : 72, 232-3
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 : Peat Cutting
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 267
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1478139
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478164
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478165
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478333
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1477983
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478350
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478356
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