MMO1720 - 19th Century water meadow northeast of Brendon Barton (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
- None recorded
A water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch meadow system is visible as a series of roughly parallel channels, or gutters, cut into both sides of a combe to the northeast of Brendon Barton in Brendon parish, centred on circa SS 7494 4757. Overlapping gutters are visible to the south of St Brendan's Church, at circa SS 7500 4764, suggesting at least two phases of construction. This water meadow is probably 19th Century in date, although similar systems were operating elsewhere in the 17th Century. Catchwork systems diverted water from a spring or stream along a series of channels or gutters to irrigate combe sides. When required, the water was caused to overflow the gutters, thereby irrigating the combe slopes. This film of water prevented pasture freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass, thereby encouraging growth, particularly important during the `hungry gap' of the spring months. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream or was removed by a tail drain. On Exmoor this system was often enhanced by a series of parallel gutters to encourage a more even flow. As this catchwork system appears to be associated with the farm at Brendon Barton, it may be an example of an integrated system where the water was passed though a farmyard to pick up manure, washing the now liquid fertilizer onto the meadow sides. The gutters remain visible on aerial photographs of 1995. [1-4]
- <1> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/910 (F20) 4030-4031 (17 October 1952).
- <2> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 080-081 (12 March 1995).
- <3> SEM7396 Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-29.
- <4>XY SMO7551 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NE. MD002168. [Mapped feature: #33097 ]
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7505 4757 (584m by 426m) (Aerial Survey)|
|Civil Parish||BRENDON, NORTH DEVON, DEVON|
Related Monuments/Buildings (0)
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Related Articles (1)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1461327 (Pastscape entry: 1461327)
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NE106
- Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1461327
Record last edited
Jan 5 2021 1:29PM
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