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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 1477817

Hob Uid: 1477817
Location :
Somerset
Somerset West and Taunton
Exmoor
Grid Ref : SS8235041770
Summary : Post medieval drainage ditches are visible as a system of earthworks on aerial photographs, on the south facing slopes of Swap 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 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 ditches 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 areas of peat cutting which may post-date the drains.
More information : An area of regular post medieval drainage ditches is visible on aerial photographs on south facing slopes of Swap Hill, Exmoor parish. The ditches were most likely cut as part of the Knight family's attempt at improvement, associated with the construction of Tom¿s Hill Farm around 1850. Centred at approximately SS 82354177, this small area of drainage covers an area of approximately seven hectares. Orientated predominantly north-east to south-west, they were possibly intended to channel run off water towards Sparcombe Water and Allcombe Water.
Three roughly parallel rows of small pits, no more than two metres in diameter, are also visible centred on circa SS 82314180. Their function is unclear but they do not appear to be military in nature and may be associated with the drains.
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 (2). Similar but much more extensive drainage systems are visible to the west towards Warren Farm, some draining into natural streams and water courses, others appearing to drain into the various contour leats. Many drainage systems appear to be associated with areas of peat cutting, and several small pits can be seen to the south-east of this area of drainage, but it is probable these post-date the improvement attempts and were opportunistically exploiting the drainage excavations. (1-3).

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3164-5 11-APR-1947
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Source Number : 2
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF 540/931 (F20) 3103-4 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, 56
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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 227
External Cross Reference Notes :

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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