Ancient Monuments

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Regular aggregate field system 480m west of West Soar

A Scheduled Monument in Malborough, Devon

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Latitude: 50.2231 / 50°13'23"N

Longitude: -3.8253 / 3°49'31"W

OS Eastings: 269885.809751

OS Northings: 37493.346411

OS Grid: SX698374

Mapcode National: GBR QF.2F1L

Mapcode Global: FRA 28WF.MJX

Entry Name: Regular aggregate field system 480m west of West Soar

Scheduled Date: 16 October 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020578

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34888

County: Devon

Civil Parish: Malborough

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Malborough All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Exeter


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
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.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

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

Source: Historic England


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

Source: Historic England

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