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. [1-4] GIS mapping for record extended with reference to aerial photographs dating to 2017 and 2008. [5-7]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <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> 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> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.
  • <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. Various. Oral Information or Staff Comments. Shirley Blaylock, 28 March 2018.

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 (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW119
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1464988

Record last edited

Apr 3 2018 3:55PM

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