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HER Number:MDV107564
Name:Peat Charcoal Burning Platforms on Wild Tor Ridge


Site of a large cluster of peat charcoal burning platforms on Wild Tor Ridge


Grid Reference:SX 622 870
Map Sheet:SX68NW
Admin AreaDartmoor National Park
Civil ParishDartmoor Forest
DistrictWest Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishLYDFORD

Protected Status: none recorded

Other References/Statuses: none recorded

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • Peat Burning Platform (Constructed, XI to XIX - 1100 AD to 1900 AD (Between))

Full description

Greeves, T., 2002, Barrow Cemetery (Worksheet). SDV357026.

Extensive group of circa 24 discrete mounds associated with a high point between 'Hangingstone Hill' and 'Wild Tor'. The circular mounds between 10 metres - 15 metres diameter and up to 1.5 metres high straddle the track running north - south. Several of the mounds have concave centres and may represent a Prehistoric barrow cemetery.

Newman , P., 2012, The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites, Wild Tor Ridge (Report - Interim). SDV356948.

The largest and clearest cluster of 'meiler' platforms on northern Dartmoor. At least 25 'meiler' platforms in an area completely denuded of peat. Located 737 metres south of Wild Tor. First recorded by Woolner in the 1960s.
The existence of a peat charcoal industry on Dartmoor has its origins in the 12th century or earlier. Peat charcoal was used for iron smithing and tin smelting from the Medieval period until the 19th century. It provided a major income for Dartmoor residents. Large areas of suitable peat would have been harvested and dried before being burned to produce charcoal. The platforms onto which these ‘meilers’ were constructed are the only field evidence for the process.
‘Meiler’ platforms comprise raised, usually circular, earthworks with level tops. Although similar to peat drying platforms they lack the peripheral drainage ditch and charcoal samples confirm their use. The level platform was prepared with circular tiers of dried peat bricks with horizontal vents to admit a controlled air flow.
Sites for peat charcoal burning were always on raised ground within areas of visible turf cutting and, on Dartmoor, between altitudes 465 metres and 545 metres OD. The cutting was often extensive and sometimes areas were denuded of peat. The platforms recorded so far are mostly organised in clusters at single locations suggesting that burning was undertaken at regional hubs.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV356948Report - Interim: Newman , P.. 2012. The Archaeological Legacy of the Carbonarii on Dartmoor – Interim Statement and Gazetter of Peat Charcoal Burning Sites. Digital. Wild Tor Ridge. [Mapped feature: #2179 ]
SDV357026Worksheet: Greeves, T.. 2002. Barrow Cemetery. Worksheet.

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV6556 - Survey of peat charcoal burning sites around Dartmoor Forest

Date Last Edited:Mar 26 2019 12:49PM