MMO1872 - Post-medieval water weadow northeast of Hollacombe (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. The system may or may not have been connected to Hollacombe by a drain or leat shown on historic maps running downslope from the farmyard.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks to the west of Hollacombe, Kentisbury. Centred at approximately SS 6481 4383, at least eight gutters are visible on a fairly steep north-east facing slope above Rowley Cleave. The gutters vary in length from 39 to 160 metres, and are between 1 and two metres in width. This system does not appear to be connected to the yard at Hollacombe (MEM23118), indicating that this was a detached system which distributed only water, and not liquid manure as fertiliser. However, a drain or leat is depicted on the Ordnance Survey 1:10000 map at SS 6462 4379 running downslope from the farmyard at Hollacombe, and it is possible that this leat was connected to the water meadow system at some point. Catchwater meadow systems 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 systems are believed to date to the post-medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [1-4] N.B. The water meadow is to the northeast of Hollacombe and not the west, as stated by [4]. The grid reference cited is correct. [5] The leat or drain mentioned by [4] is also shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map and appeared to follow the same route as that shown on the 2018 MasterMap data. [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> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1501 4237-38 (13 May 1946).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2004. 1:10000, 2004. 1:10,000.
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SW. MD002180. [Mapped feature: #33247 ]
  • <5> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Catherine Dove, 30 April 2019.
  • <6> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2018. MasterMap.
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1464779, Extant 15 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6477 4390 (280m by 378m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SW43
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1464779

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 5:40PM


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