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Somerset Historic Environment Record


Site Name: Duck decoy, west of Nyland Hill, Nyland
SCHEDULED MONUMENT: Duck decoy, west of Nyland Hill [No:27963]
Civil Parish: Cheddar
Part of:
PRN 11224Extensive Cropmarks, SW of Cheddar
Grid Ref: ST 4527 5030 (ST 45 SE)
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Image: Image of HER 11120 - Photo by Somerset County Council
  HER 11120 - Photo by Somerset County Council

Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown or has not been checked. Please ask locally and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 21 May 2003]


Well-preserved duck decoy consisting of rectangular pond c. 98m east-west by 90m north-south, with three pipes on each of shorter sides. Reed edges between pipe mouths on the eastern side. A small projection from the north bank may be a small landing stage. {1}

The decoy was "long disused" in 1886, when the decoyman's house was still standing, but was in use in 1791. {3}

The decoy is 220m long and 100m across with the central pool now about 1m deep. The set of three pipes at the NE end of the pool survive as earthworks, as do those at the SW end. No trace of any buildings. A field ditch still surrounds the decoy (called a moat in the documents) which was originally revetted with a wall.

It is a well-documented decoy. First mentioned in 1668 when it was owned by Popham of Hunstrete House. It was re-dug and dredged in 1762. Four leases survive, the earliest of 1678. The physical structures of the pool are also mentioned - a pool door, timber brazing, locks, iron etc. In 1756 pipe rods were brought from Asham Wood near Frome, nets and twine from Wells, tar from Bristol. The pipe rods were replaced every seven years or so until 1809 The decoy appears to have gone out of use in the mid C19 with the last mention in 1813. In 1844 it was recorded as pasture {6}

A map of 1773 shows the decoy and associated buildings. {7}

Scheduling affirmed with new national number on 16 Feb 1996 (was Somerset 487, scheduled on 22 Dec 1977). {8}

There is a good cover of grass with no poaching evident. The badger setts appear to be expanding. {10}

Two Badger setts in the centre of the monument may be causing damage to the monument structure. {11}

6 slope profiles were measured in 2003. {12}


1 Detailed records - Russett, V. Nyland Decoy Pool.  (1984) unpublished report. Location: HER files.
2 Measured plan - Russett, V. Nyland Decoy Pool.  (1984) unpublished report. Location: HER files.
3 Mention - Payne-Gallwey, R. The Book of Duck Decoys.  (1886), 159.
4 Mention - McDonnell, RRJ. Duck decoys in Somerset, a gazetteer. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  128 (1984), 25-30 [page 28 (site 22)]
5 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 45 SE 64 (1979) Location: HER files.
6 Description - Dennison, E and Russett, V. Duck Decoys: their function and management with reference to Nyland decoy, Cheddar. Somerset Archaeology and Natural History.  133 (1989), 141-155
7 Map - Manor of Nyland with Badcombe survey with map.  (1733) Available at Archives and Records at Somerset Heritage Centre. Reference: DD/PO/68
8 Correspondence - English Heritage to Somerset County Council (4/3/1996). Location: HER files
9 Mention - Ley, IB. Somerset Duck Decoys (1977) . unpublished typescript. Location: HER files under PRN 53978 [site 11]
10 Site visit report - Graham, A [Alan], English Heritage Field Monument Warden (10/5/2000). Report location: HER files
11 Detailed records - Coward, A. Duck Decoy Pool, Nyland, Somerset: Survey to Determine Presence and Use by Badgers (2002) . unpublished report. Location: HER files
12 Measured plan - Revington, M. To what extent does an archaeological study of Nyland Duck Decoy, Cheddar, demonstrate its function.  (2004) unpublished A-level project. Location: HER files.

Record created in January 1985

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