MMO1994 - 19th Century water meadow north of Lady Well (Monument)
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Type and Period (1)
A post-medieval water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or field gutter system was constructed on north and west facing slopes to the south of Lynton, at circa SS 7116 4913. 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 one or more 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 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. The water meadow is composed of four or five gutters. Four roughly parallel gutters are clearly visible on the east facing slope to the north of the Lady Well, which probably is the water source for the system. A fifth possible gutter is visible on the north facing slope to the north-east of the well, at circa SS 7127 4914, but this may be track not marked on the base map. It is not apparent from the aerial photographs which establishment the water meadow is associated with. As it is not associated with a farmstead it is probably a detached system, distributing only what fertiliser 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. 
- <1> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106G/UK/1501 F20 4360-1 (13 May 1946).
- <2> SMO4068 Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 (F20) 4051-2 (11 April 1947).
- <3> SEM7396 Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
- <4>XY SMO7556 Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 NW. MD002173. [Mapped feature: #42770 ]
- <5> SEM7987 Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1466318, Extant 4 January 2022.
|Grid reference||Centred SS 7124 4914 (204m by 111m) Aerial Survey|
|Civil Parish||LYNTON AND LYNMOUTH, NORTH DEVON, DEVON|
Related Monuments/Buildings (1)
Related Events/Activities (2)
External Links (1)
- http://www.pastscape.org.uk/hob.aspx?hob_id=1466318 (Original Monarch entry: 1466318)
- National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 NW199
- NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1466318
Record last edited
Jan 4 2022 3:42PM
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