MMO2110 - Post-medieval water meadow southeast of Rowley Cross (Monument)


A post-medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system.

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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 east of Rowley Cross, Parracombe. Centred at approximately SS 6641 4395 at least five gutters are visible located on a fairly steep south facing slope above an unnamed stream or combe. The gutters vary in length from 45 to 150 metres long, and are between 1 and 2 metres wide. This system does not appear to be connected to any local farmyards, suggesting that this was a detached system which only distributed water to the fields and not liquid manure or other fertilisers. At least one of the gutters appears to be overlain by a post-medieval field boundary depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map, suggesting that this system was no longer in use by the time of publication in 1889. 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] 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 543/2821 (F66) 186-87 (27 April 1964).
  • <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 SE. MD002181. [Mapped feature: #33264 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468879, Extant 15 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6643 4393 (94m by 148m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE122
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468879

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 10:28AM


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