MMO1923 - 19th Century head main northeast of Farley Water Farm (Monument)

Summary

A probably 19th century water channel known as a head-main is visible as an earthwork ditch on aerial photographs. Head-mains are often the component in simple water meadows, known locally as catchwork or field-gutter systems.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A water channel probably of 19th Century is visible as an earthwork ditch on aerial photographs to the north-east of Farley Water Farm, Brendon parish, at circa SS 74704642. Such channels, also known as gutters or head-mains, are often the only component in simple water meadow systems known locally as catchwork or field-gutter systems. Such 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 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. This system is probably an example of a `detached system', where the gutter is are not directly attached to a farmstead and distributes only what additional fertiliser is transported to it. This head-main is visible on aerial photographs of the 1940s and 1950s running for approximately 325 metres along the contours of Church Combe, from circa SS 74844636 to SS 74534644. Much of the earthwork has been levelled by 1976 although it is still partly visible on aerial photographs of 1995. [1-4]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 540/910 (F20) 4093-4 17-OCT-1952.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. MAL 76046 132 25-JUN-1976.
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 057-058 12-MAR-1995.
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 28-9.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7469 4640 (311m by 83m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish BRENDON, 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 NW136
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1465114

Record last edited

May 9 2013 2:11PM

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