MDE20647 - Post-medieval water meadow west of Sunnyside Farm (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow, known locally as a catchwater meadow is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork. It extends along the slopes to the north of ther River Heddon.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

Mill leat running from gristmill shown on Ordnance Survey mapping. [1,2] A probable post-medieval leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in a field to the north of Holwell Castle, Parracombe. The leat, which is centred at approximately SS 6693 4479, runs approximately east-west for 115 metres. It closely follows the contours of the north facing slope. The form and position of this leat suggest it may represent the remains of a water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, which used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow. This prevented freezing in winter and encouraged 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. [3-5] More gutters, probably a continuation of the leat described above, were mapped as part of an air photo interpretation and mapping project looking at Parracombe. They seem to form parts of a water meadow that extended from near Combe Bridge and Sunnyside, at Prisonford, Parracombe. [6,7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1928-1938. 6 Inch Map: 1928-1938, 3rd Edition. 1:10560.
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1963. 6 Inch Map: 1963.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Royal Air Force. 1946 -1948. Vertical Aerial Photography. RAF CPE/UK/1980 4090-91. 11/04/1947.
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. 20 December 1999.
  • <7>XY Archive: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME: Parracombe Project, Devon. AF1301153. [Mapped features: #38868 ; #38869 ]
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468917, Extant 15 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Devon SMR Monument ID: 57019
  • Devon SMR: SS64SE/41/2
  • Exmoor National Park HER Number (now deleted): MMO2117
  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SW115
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468917



Grid reference Centred SS 669 447 (411m by 198m) (2 map features)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 10:59AM


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