Field Systems on Countisbury Common, Kipscombe Farm, Countisbury, Watersmeet

Record ID:  100262 / MNA149667
Record type:  Monument
Protected Status: None Recorded
NT Property:  Watersmeet; South West
Civil Parish:  Countisbury; North Devon; Devon
Grid Reference:  SS 75350 50749
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Summary

An extensive area of multi-period field banks surviving on the open moorland of Countisbury Common and the Foreland. The field system extends from the area immediately north of Countisbury church to the old Signal Station on the W side of Countisbury Common.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • FIELD SYSTEM (Undated)

Description

An extensive area of multi-period field banks surviving on the open moorland of Countisbury Common and the Foreland. The field system extends from the area immediately north of Countisbury church to the old Signal Station on the W side of Countisbury Common. The earthworks were surveyed and mapped by D and C Thackray in 1986 (site 100262). The system immediately N of the church consists of generally smaller enclosures, possibly representing infield or garden plots. They extend to the edge of the cliff slope, and partly down it. There is a probable building platform in the area next to the churchyard about 11m long by 4.5 – 5m wide, aligned E-W. These enclosures are likely to be medieval in origin. There is a footpath from the churchyard onto the open moorland here but the earthworks are not under threat.

The next group of fields is on higher ground to the N, extending from the large enclosed field E of Countisbury to beyond the Signal Station. The enclosures are more regular, but the banks are in fact of different sizes and may represent the development of an area of fields over a considerable period of time. They generally survive well, although some areas are becoming overgrown with gorse.

Several banks straggle the W facing slopes to the N of the old Signal Station and abut the walls of the existing fields.

To the N again, there is another small discrete system on the W side of the spur between Countisbury Common and Foreland Point. These are smaller than on the Common, and may have had a shorter period of use or are earlier.

Immediately W of these fields are other relict field banks not recorded in the 1986 survey, but noted in low sun conditions on the N facing slopes below the enclosed fields. These banks generally run E-W around the contour, and join with those surveyed in 1986 on the W side. It is clear the use of the Common was formerly very extensive.

Another small area of four enclosures forming a rectangular group are spread out along the summit of the Foreland. There is a small cairn within the E field (see below). These are low banks and quite possibly prehistoric, as they are different in scale and condition to most of the banks on the Common.

References:
Thackray, D and C., (1986) Archaeological Survey of Lynmouth: Foreland Point, Countisbury Hill
and Watersmeet, Devon. The National Trust.

References

  • SNA62446 - Report: Nick Berry. 2004. Archaeological and Historic Landscape Survey of Kipscombe Farm, Countisbury, Devon.

Designations

None Recorded

Other Statuses and References

  • HER/SMR Reference (External): SS74NW/076
  • National Park
  • Site of Special Scientific Interest

Associated Events

None Recorded

Associated Finds

None Recorded

Related Records

None Recorded