MMO1899 - 19th Century water meadow east of South Radsbury (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.

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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 at circa SS 71724593 on the east facing slopes above the West Lyn River, to east of a Farm at Radsbury, 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 a similar system attached to a neighbouring farm to the east can be seen in operation in April 1972, this system may have passed out of use by this time. [1-5] GIS mapping for record extended with reference to aerial photographs dating to 2017 and 2008. [6-8] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [9]

Sources/Archives (9)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3071-2 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/72065 190-191 (15 April 1972).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA MAL 77013 057-8 (20 May 1977).
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173. [Mapped feature: #33058 ]
  • <6> Aerial photograph: Geoinformation. 2008. Vertical Aerial Photography of Exmoor National Park.
  • <7> Aerial photograph: Getmapping. 2017. Vertical Aerial Photography of Exmoor National Park.
  • <8> Verbal communication: Various. 1993-. Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Team staff comments. Shirley Blaylock, 28 March 2018.
  • <9> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1464988, Extant 17 December 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7172 4591 (96m by 287m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW119
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1464988

Record last edited

Dec 17 2021 10:33AM

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