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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1478234

Hob Uid: 1478234
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Porlock, Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8352643289
Summary : An area of peat cutting can be seen on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards on the higher north-west facing slopes of Black Mires, Porlock Allotment. It is one of several extensive areas of extraction of probable nineteenth century date visible in this area, although smaller scale peat cutting probably took place from the medieval period into the twentieth century.
More information : An area of peat cutting of probable nineteenth century date can be seen as irregularly shaped pits and disturbed ground on aerial photographs of the 1940s onwards, on the higher north-west facing slopes of Black Mires, Porlock Allotment, centred on circa SS 83504331.
Three distinct forms of pits can be observed here. Firstly, a small number of isolated rectilinear pits five to ten metres wide and up to fifteen long are visible, some displaying `tails¿, possibly prospecting trenches, up to 40 metres long.
Secondly, significantly larger and more irregularly shaped pits. The largest example in this group at circa 100 metres in length can be seen at circa SS 83344339. These pits, which often display stepped sides in plan, have been interpreted as evidence of sustained and systematic peat cutting in a preferred location, perhaps by several generations of the same family as part of their commoners' rights.
The third group is visible as densely grouped pits, irregular but largely rectilinear in shape, centred on circa SS 83694321. The close spacing and interlocking pattern may indicate a high level of organisation.
This is one of four discrete areas of peat extraction to the north-west of Block Mires, differentiated by different styles of peat cutting, perhaps indicating they were worked by different individuals or groups.
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 CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3166-7 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 540-931 (F20) 4099-4101 08-NOV-1952
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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 : 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 272
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 1478228
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478240
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478245
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1478315
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