MMO2297 - 19th Century water meadow southeast of Pool Farm (Monument)

Summary

A probable 19th Century catchwork or field-gutter water meadowsystem, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of ditches or water channels. The water channel was probably fed by Pool Combe.

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Type and Period (1)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A probable 19th Century water meadow of a type known locally as a catchwork or field-gutter system, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of ditches or water channels to the south and east of Pool Farm, Luccombe parish, centred on circa SS 8658 4493. A single spring fed gutter or head main, 200 metres to the north of Pool Farm, at circa SS 8738 4451, also probably acted as a simple water meadow and although the gutter itself is only partially visible, it can be seen in operation, flooding the slopes to the north, on aerial photographs of 1946. It is probable this spring fed gutter was also associated with Pool farm. Catchwork systems are usually found on steep combe sides and are designed to irrigate pasture by diverting water from a spring or stream along the valley sides via one or more channels or gutters. When irrigation was required the gutters were blocked, causing water to overflow, thereby irrigating the slopes. This film of water prevented the ground freezing during the winter and raised the temperature of the grass in the spring, thereby encouraging early growth, particularly important during the hungry gap of March and April. Any excess water then returned to the feeder stream at the valley bottom or was removed by a tail drain. The use of a series of parallel gutters to improve the coverage is a common feature of Exmoor systems. The main water meadow recorded here was probably fed directly from Pool Combe, but it is not clear whether the water was passed through the farmyard to pick up manure prior to flooding the slopes. [1-6]

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106UK/1655 4090-1 (F20) (11 June 1946).
  • <2> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. NMR OS/79013 255-6 (17 April 1973).
  • <3> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. RAF 106UK/1501 4199-4200 (F20) (13 May 1946).
  • <4> Aerial photograph: Various. Various. Vertical Aerial Photograph. ENPA MAL IR 77013 088-089 (20 May 1977).
  • <5> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. 1-7, 28-9.
  • <6> Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 84 SE. MD002185.

Map

Location

Grid reference Centred SS 8744 4445 (351m by 329m) (Aerial Survey)
Map sheet SS84SE
Civil Parish LUCCOMBE, WEST SOMERSET, SOMERSET

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 84 SE175
  • Pastscape HOBID (was Monarch UID): 1473569

Record last edited

Sep 4 2014 11:47AM

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