Regular aggregate field system 480m west of West Soar

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020578

Date first listed: 16-Oct-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Regular aggregate field system 480m west of West Soar
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Devon

District: South Hams (District Authority)

Parish: Malborough

National Grid Reference: SX 69910 37487

Summary

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age (2000-700 BC) to the end of the fifth century AD. They usually cover areas of up to 100ha and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set at right angles to one another. Individual fields generally fall within the 0.1ha-3.2ha range and can be square, rectangular, long and narrow, triangular or polygonal in shape. The field boundaries can take various forms (including drystone walls or reaves, orthostats, earth and rubble banks, pit alignments, ditches, fences and lynchets) and follow straight or sinuous courses. Component features common to most systems include entrances and trackways, and the settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields over the years have been identified in some cases. These are usually situated close to or within the field system. The development of field systems is seen as a response to the competition for land which began during the later prehistoric period. The majority are thought to have been used mainly for crop production, evidenced by the common occurrence of lynchets resulting from frequent ploughing, although rotation may also have been practised in a mixed farming economy. Regular aggregate field systems occur widely and have been recorded in south western and south eastern England, East Anglia, Cheshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire, North and South Yorkshire and Durham. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods of time and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices in a particular location and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Those which survive well and/or which can be positively linked to associated settlements are considered to merit protection.

The regular aggregate field system 480m west of West Soar is an important survival in an area where such systems are rare. The fields, their boundary banks and any buried deposits will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to their construction and use in the contemporary landscape.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

This monument includes part of a regular aggregate field system, located on steeply sloping heathland on the south side of Soar Mill Cove. The western edge of the monument falls 40m to the sea, with spectacular views along the coast. The field system includes several sub-rectangular fields laid out on a north east to south west axis. It is the best preserved part of a wider system which extends for a further 190m to the south east. Three long boundaries follow the valley side for up to 480m, falling sharply down the steep coastal slope to the west. Intermediate boundaries on various alignments divide the fields into trapezoidal plots of regular size. The boundary banks vary between 2m and 4m wide and are from 0.5m to 1.3m high, containing occasional vertical earthfast stone slabs, set close together. These slabs are about 0.5m wide, 0.2m thick and stand up to 1.3m high. All path surfacings, fence posts and notice board supports are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath them is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Legacy

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 34888

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Other
MPP fieldwork by R Waterhouse, Waterhouse, R, (2000)
NT fieldwork by C Thackeray, Thackeray, C, (1986)

End of official listing