MMO2342 - Post-medieval water meadow west of Ashcombe Bottom (Monument)


A probably 19th Century water meadow system, known locally as a catchwater meadow, is visible on aerial photographs as a series of earthworks.

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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 on the western slopes above Ashcombe Bottom, Exmoor. Centred at approximately SS 7730 4004, four gutters are visible, covering an area of approximately 0.8 hectares. The gutters appear to drain into Ashcombe Bottom, but there is no indication of how they were supplied with water. 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. Catchwater meadows used 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. This water meadow most likely dates to the mid 19th Century and was part of the Knight family agricultural improvements in the area. A land agent employed by the Knight family from 1848 onwards was considered an expert in irrigation and catch water meadows. [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. NMR OS/96507 031-21 (30 March 1996).
  • <2> Monograph: Orwin, C.S.. 1929. The Reclamation of Exmoor Forest. Oxford University Press. 1st Edition. p 55, 77.
  • <3> Monograph: Cook, H. + Williamson, T.. 2007. Water Meadows: History, Ecology and Conservation. Windgather Press. 1st Edition. pp 1-7, 28-9.
  • <4>XY Archive: 2007-2009. Exmoor National Park NMP: SS 74 SE. MD002183. [Mapped feature: #32979 ]
  • <5> Digital archive: Historic England. Various. National Record of the Historic Environment (NRHE) entry. 1475759, Extant 14 June 2021.



Grid reference Centred SS 7729 4000 (124m by 186m) Aerial Survey
Map sheet SS74SE

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Related Events/Activities (1)

External Links (1)

Other Statuses/References

  • National Monuments Record reference: SS 74 SE191
  • NRHE HOB UID (Pastscape): 1475759

Record last edited

Jan 4 2022 12:02PM


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