MMO1937 - 19th Century water meadow northeast of Lyncombe Wood (Monument)

Summary

A small and relatively simple water meadow of probable 19th century, of a type known locally as a catchwork or field-gutter system, is visible as two ditches or water channels on aerial photographs.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A small and relatively simple water meadow of probable 19th Century, of a type known locally as a catchwork or field-gutter system, is visible as two ditches or water channels on aerial photographs to the north-east of Lyncombe wood, Brendon parish, at circa SS 73354631. 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 roughly parallel channels or gutters. This water meadow system was probably fed from a spring marked on the current Ordnance Survey base map, immediately to the east towards the top of Lyncombe. 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 does not appear to be directly attached to a farmstead and is therefore probable a "detached" system which did not enrich the pasture with any additional fertiliser, other than that which was carried to it. [1-4] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3073-4 (11 July 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 3051-2 (11 April 1947).
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173. [Mapped feature: #33040 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1465354, Extant 4 January 2022.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 7333 4630 (41m by 54m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74NW
Civil Parish BRENDON, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW142
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1465354

Record last edited

Jan 4 2022 3:58PM

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