MMO2009 - Post-medieval water meadow southeast of Whitefield Barton (Monument)


A post medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow system, is visible on aerial photographs. This system appears to have been a detached system unconnected to any of the nearby farmyards.

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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 south and southeast of Whitefield Barton. Centred at approximately SS 6797 4167 up to seven gutters are visible on a steep southwest facing slope above a tributary of the River Bray. The gutters vary in length from 75 to 180 metres and are between 1 and 3 metres wide. This system does not appear to be connected to any of the nearby farmyard, suggesting that this was a detached system that only distributed water and not liquid manure or other fertiliser across the fields. 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. 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] Parts of the post-medieval water meadow described above were mapped as part of an aerial photograph interpretation project of Challacombe and environs. [4,5]

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/2082 3100-01 (19 May 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 SE. MD002181.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. RCHME: Challacombe, West Devon, 20 December 1999.
  • <5>XY Archive: RCHME: Challacombe Project, Devon. AF1301145. [Mapped feature: #33283 ]



Grid reference Centred SS 6799 4167 (320m by 428m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

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External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE74
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1466853

Record last edited

May 20 2019 4:47PM


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