MDE14809 - Post-medieval water meadow north and east of Higher House Farm (Monument)


A post-medieval catchwater meadow is visible as a series of earthworks. In addition to the leats, a sluice and pond are also visible. The pond and two of the leats may also have fed the waterwheet at Higher House Farm.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A complex of earthworks representing catchwater leats, a pond and a sluice. The leat measures 1.6 metres across and is embanked by 0.9 metres. [1] A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks north of Higher House Farm, Twitchen. Centred at approximately SS 7894 3065, at least five leats are visible, following the contours of the south facing slope. In addition to the leats, a sluice and pond are also visible. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [2-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5] The pond and sluice are shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. Two of the catchwork leats mapped by the NMP [4] also appear on this map, and are directed towards Higher House Farm. They may have fed the water wheel that has been recorded there (MDE14808). [6,7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Unpublished document: Wilson-North, R.. Various. Field Investigators Comments. RCHME Field Investigation, 4 January 1995.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/73082 486-87 (24 September 1970).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: English Heritage. 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 73 SE. MD002195. [Mapped feature: #37801 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1097040, Extant 6 October 2021.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 6 October 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7911 3052 (373m by 286m) Estimated from sources
Map sheet SS73SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 60636
  • Devon SMR: SS73SE/577
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 73 SE26
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1097040

Record last edited

Oct 6 2021 1:24PM


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