MMO2105 - Post-medieval water meadow southwest of Withycombe Farm (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. It may be part of the water meadow recorded under MMO2025 or a separate system. It appears to be connected to the farmyard at Withycombe Farm.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

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 south-west of Withycombe Farm, Challacombe. It is not clear whether this system is part of the water meadow recorded under MMO2025 or a separate system. Four gutters are visible, centred at approximately SS 6832 4194 on a fairly steep west facing slope above an unnamed stream or combe. The vary in length from 60 to 165 metres in length, and are between 1 and 2 metres wide. This system appears to be connected to the farmyard at Withycombe Farm, by means of a channel marked with a direction of flow arrow depicted on the Ordnance Survey 1:10000 map [2]. This suggests that this was an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure as fertiliser to 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. [1-4] Parts of the post-medieval water meadow described above were mapped as part of an air photo interpretation project in Challacombe environs. There is an additional gutter. [5,6] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [7]

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F65) 184-85 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 2004. 1:10000, 2004. 1:10,000.
  • <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 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. RCHME: Challacombe, West Devon, 20 December 1999.
  • <6>XY Archive: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME: Challacombe Project, Devon. AF1301145. [Mapped feature: #33268 ]
  • <7> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468860, Extant 10 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6830 4190 (263m by 250m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (3)

Related Events/Activities (3)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE117
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468860

Record last edited

Nov 10 2021 1:19PM


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