MMO2123 - Possible post-medieval leat at West Swincombe Farm (Monument)


A probable post-medieval leat is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork. It may have supplied water to the farmstead to be used by a waterwheel for grinding corn.

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Type and Period (2)

Protected Status

Full Description

A probable post-medieval leat or water channel is visible on aerial photographs as an earthwork in fields to the north of West Swincombe Farm, Challacombe.Centred at approximately SS 6908 4158, the leat runs north-south for 110 metres on a fairly steep south facing slope above an un-named stream or combe. It appears to be connected to the farmyard at West Swincombe. The form and position of this leat suggest it may represent the remains of a water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, which used a series of approximately parallel gutters located on a slope to distribute flowing water evenly over the surface of the meadow. This prevented freezing in winter and encouraged 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] The leat is shown on the 1st and 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey maps leading from the stream to North Swincombe Farm. It is possible this is the feature that supplied the water for the waterwheel, which was installed in 1886 (see MDE21571). [4-5] This record was enhanced as part of the National Record of the Historic Environment to Exmoor National Park Historic Environment Record data transfer project. [6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 543/2821 (F65) 183-84 (27 April 1964).
  • <2> Externally held archive reference: Externally held archive. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <3>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 64 SE. MD002181. [Mapped feature: #42044 ]
  • <4> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1868-1901. County Series; 1st Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <5> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1902-1907. County Series, 2nd Edition 25 Inch Map. 1:2500.
  • <6> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1468935, Extant 15 November 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 6908 4159 (86m by 145m) Historic mapping
Map sheet SS64SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 64 SE134
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1468935

Record last edited

Nov 15 2021 11:35AM


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