MMO1892 - 19th Century water meadow south of South Stock Farm (Monument)

Summary

A water meadow of probable 19th Century, of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system, is visible as a series of ditches or water channels on aerial photographs.

Please read the .

Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or catch-meadow system was constructed on the west facing slopes above the West Lyn River, to the south and west of South Stock Farm, with which it is probably associated. Catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe sides and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via a series of channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow, thereby irrigating the slopes. This film of water prevented the ground freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass in the spring, thereby encouraging early growth, particularly important during the hungry gap of the March and April. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream at the valley bottom or was removed by a tail drain. The use of a series of parallel gutters to improve the coverage, as seen here, is a common feature of Exmoor systems. This system may be an example of an `integrated system', where the water is passed though the farmstead to pick up manure and subsequently distribute this liquid fertaliser on the slopes. Although the systems in neighbouring farms seem to have passed out of use, this example can be seen in operation on aerial photographs of April 1972. [1-3]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3071-2 11-JUL-1946.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 190-191 15-APR-1972.
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7188 4584 (108m by 221m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW117
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1464948

Record last edited

May 20 2013 10:16AM

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome. If you can provide any new information about this record, please contact us.