MMO2122 - Post-medieval water meadow east of Twitchen Farm (Monument)


A post medieval water meadow system is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks. It appears to be connected to the farmyard at Twitchen Farm, suggesting that this was an integrated 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 east of Twitchen Farm, Challacombe. Centred at approximately SS 6989 4120, seven gutters are visible located on a fairly gentle west facing slope. The gutters vary in length from 55 to 100 metres and in width from 1.5 to 3 metres. In some places the gutters are overlain by post-medieval field boundaries, depicted on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. According to the owner in 2008, Ms Helen Asher, the gutters were fed by a spring located next to the farmyard pond, and were still in use when her father farmed at Twitchen during the middle years of the 20th Century. This was apparently an integrated system which also distributed liquid manure and slurry from the farmyard to the fields. A series of approximately parallel gutters were used 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. [1-5] Parts of the post-medieval water meadow described above were mapped as part of an air photo interpretation project in Challacombe environs. Some additional gutters were transcribed. [6,7] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [8]

Sources/Archives (8)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF CPE/UK/2082 3102-03 (19 May 1947).
  • <2> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500. 1889.
  • <3> Verbal communication: Various. Various. Oral Information. Ms Helen Asher, e-mail, 3 March 2008.
  • <4> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <5> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME/EH Aerial Photographers Comment. RCHME: Challacombe, West Devon, 20 December 1999/.
  • <7>XY Archive: Winton, H.. 1999. RCHME: Challacombe Project, Devon. AF1301145. [Mapped feature: #33256 ]
  • <8> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468929, Extant 15 November 2021.

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • Local List Status (Unassessed)
  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE133
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468929



Grid reference Centred SS 6991 4124 (132m by 240m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (3)

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 11:32AM


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