MMO2060 - Post-medieval water meadow north and west of Lower Rowley (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. This system appears to be connected to the farmyard at Lower Rowley, suggesting that this was an integrated system.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A post-medieval water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks in fields to the north and west of Lower Rowley, Parracombe. Centred at approximately SS 6498 4376 and extending across into SS 64 SE, six gutters are visible on a fairly steep north facing slope above Rowley Cleave. They vary in length from approximately 35 to 240 metres and are between 1 and 3 metres wide. Most of the gutters run aprroximately north to south, however at SS 6494 4360 a curvilinear gutter is visible which runs approximately east to west. This gutter may have been the "headmain" which supplied the system with water and liquid manure from Lower Rowley. The water meadow system appears to be part of an extensive system of catchwater meadows which also includes MMO1872 and MMO1875. Catchwater meadows used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope 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. [1-4] 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/1501 4237-38 (13 May 1946).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SW. MD002180. [Mapped feature: #33238 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468150, Extant 10 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6503 4367 (374m by 300m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SW77
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468150

Record last edited

Nov 10 2021 11:14AM


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