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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1478377

Hob Uid: 1478377
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8183643539
Summary : Post-medieval ditches are visible as earthworks on aerial photographs forming an extensive drainage system of across the slopes of Kittuck Hill, 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 or Larkbarrow 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. Many of the ditches appear to be associated with peat cutting, most of which may post-date the drains.
More information : A system of post-medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs, across the slopes of Kittuck Hill, 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 or Larkbarrow model Farm around 1850. Centred on approximately SS 81774364, these earthworks cover an area of over 40 hectares.
The drains are arranged in an extremely irregular pattern, containing elements of herringbone design, and were probably intended to drain into tributaries of Chalk Water in Stowford Bottom and Three Combes Foot.
Even more extensive drainage systems are visible to the south 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.
As with the drainage systems to the south, this example is also associated with extensive peat cuttings. However, it is clear that the cuttings follow the line of the drains and it is probable that these post-date drains and were opportunistically exploiting the abandoned excavations. (1-3).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3065-6 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3060-3 08-NOV-1952
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Source Number : 3
Source : Externally held archive reference
Source details : Orwin, C.S. 1929 "The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest" London, Oxford University Press
Page(s) : 32-33
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Drainage System, Drain
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 288
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1478356
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478372
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