MMO2006 - Post-medieval water meadow at Swincombe (Monument)

Summary

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow system, is visible on aerial photographs. This system appears to have been an integrated system with the farmyards at North and South Swincombe.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow system, is visible on aerial photographs to the north west of Swincombe Lane, Challacombe. Centred at approximately SS 6896 4134, at least seven gutters are visible on either side of a fairly steep south facing slope above an un-named stream or combe which flows into the River Bray. The gutters vary in length from 50 to 341 metres, and are between 1 and 3 metres wide. In places the gutters are overlain by post medieval field boundaries, suggesting that this system was constructed in the early post medieval period, or possibly the medieval period. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow in order to prevent freezing in winter and encourage early growth in spring, thereby providing extra feed for livestock. This system appears to have been connected to the farmyards at North and South Swincombe, suggesting that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to the fields. Most catchwater meadows are believed to date to the post-medieval period, although it is possible that they were first developed in the medieval period. [1-3] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [4]

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/1980 3142-43 (11 April 1947).
  • <2> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SW. MD002180.
  • <4> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1466836, Extant 10 November 2021.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 6893 4132 (394m by 343m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SE
Civil Parish CHALLACOMBE, NORTH DEVON, DEVON

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE72
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1466836

Record last edited

Nov 10 2021 4:13PM

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