MMO1945 - 19th Century water meadow east of Manor Farm (Monument)


An extensive water meadow of probable 19th Century, of a type known locally as a catchwork or field-gutter 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 field-gutter system was constructed on an east facing slope above the West Lyn River at circa SS 71274689, to the east of Manor farm, East Ilkerton, which 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 passes through, or is otherwise connected to the farmstead, where it picks up manure and subsequently distribute this liquid fertaliser on the slopes. A more modest system can be seen across the river on the west facing combe slopes of the West Lyn River. [1-3]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1655 (F20) 3070-1 11-JUL-1946.
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/95026 023-4 12-MAR-1995.
  • <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.



Grid reference Centred SS 7131 4680 (341m by 610m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS74NW

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW150
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1465435

Record last edited

May 13 2013 11:50AM


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